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Hello all,

 

Basically we had 3, later reduced to 2 cats in a property for about 7 months, upon leaving the estate agent has had some cleaning work done to repair a "cat smell" and a flea infestation.

 

There are four stages in this saga;

 

Stage one: We leave and ask for our deposit back. We get told about a "smell". The agent after about three weeks finally gets a quote of £50 for the downstairs, and tells me that the upstairs is fine. I agree and tell them to go ahead.

 

Stage two: The cleaner quotes the landlord for £100 for both upstairs and downstairs after they view the property, and says that the upstairs is not fine. The agent calls me and says they now need more money before they can go ahead. I am naturally irritated by this.

 

Stage three: I start a dispute because I am beginning to find it a bit suspicious that they had taken so long to get quotes or even do any work, and that the amounts keep changing. I request that the amount not in dispute is returned. I do not recieve anything.

 

Stage four: I consider withdrawing the dispute expecting to have to pay £100 and be done with it. By this time I'd gotten fed up and wanted the whole thing to be over. I phone the estate agent and discuss this with them, at which point they inform me that the work has already been done, and that the bill is now £216 because a flea infestation had arisen and was dealt with.

 

So now I am wondering, should I continue with the dispute, or should I withdraw it? Can they charge me for a flea infestation that had arisen over a month AFTER I moved out? I appreciate that having pets during a tenancy requires extra cleaning upon leaving, but I've just got a gut feeling that this agent isn't playing by the rules.

 

What should I do?

 

Regards,

Scott.

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This is probably a question for the "Carpet Cleaners" (a CAG member). Maybe change your title to "carpet cleaning costs" and s/he'll notice.

 

Fleas don't necessarily get noticed straight away. I don't notice them, but my partner goes up in bumps about 3 seconds after being bitten.

 

I would say that you should ask for a copy of the invoice and perhaps get indicative quotes from another firm.

 

If you have reason to believe that the cleaning of upstairs was unnecessary, then by all means object/negotiate. Like many things, success often depends on the level of determination. If your cats were there by agreement and if there were no specific requirements for cleaning you could argue that any minor smells identified by sensitive people are their issue, not yours.

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3 cats with free run of house and no smell upstairs?? Even if they all used the litter tray all the time, residue can be carried on paws and human feet etc. Fleas are an expected hazard of keeping pets.

LL/LA can charge any amount for 'damage' and not repair, it will be for Adj to decide if LLs 'estimate' is reasonable. Production of signed receipts from a contractor could be sufficient proof. Even if you have no cats now, any of your furniture from then should be treated for fleas to prevent infestation of next property.

1 T left my property with a flea problem requiring 3 fumigations. That's prob why they left their sofa etc Bicycle clips not inc in treatment cost.

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I would say that you have been very lucky with the charge for removing flea infestation, £216 is a very fair price for this work, as it involves specialist chemicals, 2 repeat visits with more chemicals to ensure that the eggs are all dead and that non have been missed, and if it was very bad then the rooms need to be fogged as well.

 

Also £100 for a full carpet clean without the flea treatment is a good price for anything above a 1 bed flat.

 

Any good carpet cleaner would automatically have to clean the whole place to ensure complete removal of fleas and eggs. The curtains and furniture should really have been treated as well by a fogging machine. I know of some carpet cleaners who would charge over £600 for this sort of work.

I am not a solicitor :!::!:

 

Most of my knowledge came from this site :-D:-D

 

If I have been helpful in any way at all .............. Please click my star..... :-(:-(

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Can they charge me for a flea infestation that had arisen over a month AFTER I moved out?

 

Pausing to wonder, realistically, why this would come up, a month AFTER the vacation of the property, the likelihood is that a prospective occupier complained and so would I.

 

If the reason for the work is the impossibility of letting the property in the mean time, they could charge you for that, as a consequential damage. With all said and done, the opinion of whoever has to live there is where the money is.

Edited by Legislation
typing errors
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3 cats with free run of house and no smell upstairs?? Even if they all used the litter tray all the time, residue can be carried on paws and human feet etc. Fleas are an expected hazard of keeping pets.

LL/LA can charge any amount for 'damage' and not repair, it will be for Adj to decide if LLs 'estimate' is reasonable. Production of signed receipts from a contractor could be sufficient proof. Even if you have no cats now, any of your furniture from then should be treated for fleas to prevent infestation of next property.

1 T left my property with a flea problem requiring 3 fumigations. That's prob why they left their sofa etc Bicycle clips not inc in treatment cost.

 

I agree with you about cats carrying smell around, although some people will make it out to be worse than it actually is, but the estate agent who did the check-out for this property told me over the phone that the upstairs carpets were fine and that the smell was downstairs. BTW the ENTIRE downstairs is solid flooring, no carpets. I reckon the smell was coming from a patch of bare concrete near the litter trays that had absorbed some of the smell.

 

This is where I have the issue. If it was fine upstairs, why do it anyway? If it wasn't fine why the hell tell me it was? They told me it was a "precaution". In my mind that's not in keeping with the spirit of the deposit system. That's like digging up the whole garden "just in case" we planted something illegal. I don't mind them doing it if it's necessary, it's unnecessary works I have a problem with. Either way they blatantly lied - either when they told me it was fine or when they later told me it was necessary. One way or the other it's **** poor practice.

 

And honestly the fleas were not a massive issue when we lived there. We noticed a couple on our cats, immediately got them on stronghold treatments, kept the house well hoovered, etc. and we stopped getting bites and stopped finding them on cats and surfaces. It certainly never became the major infestation that they're talking about. Perhaps it can get like that on it's own. I just find it suspect.

 

The estate agent told me over the phone that the "carpets were moving" with fleas! Surely it takes a more serious infestation to cause this, and surely that many fleas cannot survive in an empty house without a blood meal?

 

Again if I was at fault somewhere I would've held my hands up. I did agree to have the smell sorted out initially. In the past if I've ever missed something on my way out or there was something that got broken during a tenancy, I've always either paid for it to be fixed/replaced or gone back and done the work myself. I never wanted to keep cats in the first place, it was my girlfriend's idea, so I'm not even being defensive about it. I just don't want to be ripped off for work that didn't need doing. This agent has a long history (which we only found out later) of ripping people off. The whole way they've gone about it struck me as being a bit suspect.

 

Anyway I've decided to stay with the dispute. The worst that will happen is that I will lose, in which case it's because they managed to prove that the work was necessary. If that turns out to be the case then I'm happy with that. Either way justice will be done, but not by the hands of this estate agent who I no longer trust.

 

Regards,

Scott.

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Ignorance is bliss, but not the way to win the day.

 

The incubation of a flea may indeed be delayed and they do survive without a blood meal:

 

... The eggs hatch into larvae, which are negatively phototaxic, meaning that they hide from light in the substrate. Flea larvae feed on a variety of organic substances, but most importantly subsist on dried blood that is filtered out of the haircoat of the host after it is deposited there as adult flea fecal material. Thus the adult population on the host feeds the larval population in the host's environment.

 

Flea larvae metamorphose through 4 stages before spinning a cocoon and entering the pupal stage. The pupal stage varies greatly in length; the pre-emergent flea does not normally emerge as a young adult flea until the presence of a potential host is perceived by warmth or vibration. ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_flea

 

I am not so much of an expert on fleas but this was not so difficult to investigate, already convinced that the suspicion of the Landlord is probably wrong,

 

You could have done the same for yourself.

 

Before you go any further, read this as well:

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?328161-Private-Rented-Property-Damp-Mouldy-and-Infested-with-Bugs

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