Horsham family’s housing battle over rat infestation

A housing association has said it will not move a couple and their baby out of a rat-infested home despite medical advice saying they should move.

Friday, 23rd January 2015, 3:00 pm
JPCT 190115 S15031330x Horsham. Jake Shortenwood, partner Nicole and 6 month old baby Romeo. Complaint that Saxon Weald not solving rat infestation problem -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150120-085015001

Jake Shortenwood and his partner Nicole first alerted Saxon Weald to the problem shortly after they moved in to the flat in Medway Court, Roffey last October. Still the problem continues.

Jake said: “The pest controller came out every single week to sort it out for us. There’s only so much he can do. He came five or six weeks to do boxes.”

Shortly before Christmas they had the box removed only for the problem to return.

Jake said: “It was two days after Christmas I heard a noise in the kitchen. I came out and to my surprise there was an open sewage pipe with rat droppings everywhere. We shouldn’t be in this flat.”

Their GP has advised they must move, particularly since their six-month-old Romeo is starting to crawl.

Jake said: “She doesn’t want us staying in the flat and she has written a letter to Saxon Weald. The pest control expert we had said it was highly infested, you shouldn’t be here, the bathroom needs to be ripped out and the same with the kitchen.”

Last week a Horsham District Council spokesman said: “Our environment services team have confirmed that they have not received any notification from Saxon Weald regarding infestation at the property concerned. In November they did receive notification direct from private tenants in Medway Court regarding a minor mouse infestation which was dealt with but they have not received any further notifications in this particular location.”

A Saxon Weald spokesman, however, said they had ‘engaged very much with environmental health’ and had visited the home with them on Thursday January 15.

She said: “While we sympathise with the family, we have done everything reasonable to resolve this situation.

“We sent out a pest control company to eradicate the vermin and subsequently blocked up a number of holes in the property as recommended by the pest controller.”

She added: “(The officer) has now given us his recommendations and we will carry out further work at the property on January 27.

“Once this has been completed, we will organise a deep clean of the flat. The property is certainly safe to live in and we have not had a recommendation from environmental health that the family are at risk and need to move out.”