What is a rodent infestation?
Having the occasional mouse or rat investigate your home is not usually considered a problem. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, and one curious mouse doesn’t make your house unsellable. Unfortunately, these furry visitors are often just the scouting party, and they will return with their friends if they like what they see. They will then make themselves at home very quickly and start breeding exponentially and before you know it, your home will be overrun by pests. It’s then considered an infestation, and in the worst cases, your property can be deemed unfit for human habitation.
The problem with rodent infestations
Apart from the obvious ‘ick factor’ of having vermin running around your home, rats and mice are also a serious health hazard. An infestation will create huge amounts of droppings that you can see, and urine that you can’t. Germs from these will be run, invisibly, all over your home as the creatures move around, including on kitchen worksurfaces where you prepare food, on children’s toys that they handle and put in their mouths, and even on your bedding. ‘Ick’ indeed!
As if that’s not unpleasant enough, rats and mice can cause serious, and even dangerous, damage to your home. Forget Jerry’s quaint arched doorway to his skirting board home, in reality, rodents will gnaw through whatever is in their way, including wood and plasterboard. This can weaken the structure of walls and let in drafts and rainwater causing further damage. Rodents can even eat through electrical wiring, disrupting your supplies and causing a potential fire hazard.
Can you sell a house with rodents?
There’s nothing stopping you from selling a house with a rodent infestation, but you are obliged to inform your buyers of the problem. You’ll normally be asked about this kind of issue by the buyers solicitor as part of the conveyancing process. If you fail to disclose a problem with rats or mice, and your buyers subsequently discover it, then they can sue you for withholding this information.
Even if you’re not asked outright, it’s simply not worth pretending that the problem isn’t there. Any surveyor worth their salt will soon spot the tell-tale signs, such as droppings and teeth marks, and report their concern. Trying to dupe your buyers in this way never ends well. It can break their trust and even break your sale.