Mother and newborn baby 'cannot go home' after rat infestation in her Banbury social housing flat

A mother and her newborn baby have been unable to go home for a month because a rat infestation has not been rectified by her landlord.
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The young mum discovered the rat's nest underneath her bath after the vermin chewed through her waste pipe, creating leaks.

Several dead rats, posing a clear health risk to her and the baby, were found and the mum moved out immediately. She has been forced to stay in overcrowded conditions, using her mother’s bedroom in her home and displacing her brother.

The Banbury Guardian is not naming the family. The landlord is social housing association, Sanctuary.

A waste pipe which rats, from a nest beneath the bath, have chewed throughA waste pipe which rats, from a nest beneath the bath, have chewed through
A waste pipe which rats, from a nest beneath the bath, have chewed through

The woman’s brother said: “The council have been aware of the issue and aren't treating it as an emergency. Pest control came out and just took pictures of the rats saying it could still be another week before they are removed and they can start repair on the bath.

"Meanwhile she is unable to stay in the flat because of the health and safety risks to both her and her baby and no access to her bath or shower. We have chased this issue up several times.

"The rats are coming from the bin store which has been an issue for years and not been seen to. She is having to stay with me and my Mum, in my Mum’s room when it is overcrowded here as it is. We chased it up again today and they said they would phone her back which they still haven't. This is unacceptable and disgusting on their part.

“They offered her a hotel as an alternative but that is not feasible for her. They have offered her ‘incentive’ payments of £25 a day that she is forced to stay out of her home but she has yet to receive any of the payments,” he said.

Merton Street, Banbury home to a mother who is unable to return to her housing association flat because of ratsMerton Street, Banbury home to a mother who is unable to return to her housing association flat because of rats
Merton Street, Banbury home to a mother who is unable to return to her housing association flat because of rats

"They have extended the deadline until December 8 which will then be almost four weeks that she and her baby have been unable to return home. This is despicable that they expect her to stay in an overcrowded house with her newborn baby and are not making it a priority to make her own home safe to live in.

"She is continuing to pay rent and a service charge for a home she is unable to stay in and her housing officer is not providing an update or treating it as an emergency.

“They will not redecorate her bathroom – they didn't even redecorate when she first moved in. She is still paying her energy bills but cannot run the heating due to another outstanding repair; her bathroom radiator has a leak which was reported the same day as the rat problem.”

A spokesperson for Sanctuary said: “We understand why this situation is upsetting and are continuing to employ a specialist pest control contractor to address this issue. While we are carefully following all the expert advice being provided, the contractor has explained that this type of issue can take time to fully resolve.

The rats' nest beneath the bath in the young mother's housing association flatThe rats' nest beneath the bath in the young mother's housing association flat
The rats' nest beneath the bath in the young mother's housing association flat

“In the meantime, as we are always committed to supporting our residents, we have offered the family the option of temporary alternative accommodation and while this offer was declined, we will continue to provide support with their living costs while they are unable to live in their home.”

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