Disabled Sheffield woman risks losing home after refusing to pay rent over rat problems

A disabled and unemployed woman is at risk of being homeless after being served with an eviction notice for refusing to pay rent for her rat infested home.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 7:12 am

Only wanting to be known as Tina, the 41-year-old former bus driver said her two-bedroom house in Manor has been inundated with rats since she moved in 10 years ago.

She said a drainage problem led to the discovery of the rodent infestation.

She said: “I went to the toilet and when we came out of the back garden, there was a toilet issue, faeces all over...turned out the drainage pipe wasn't attached.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The damage that has been caused by the rats

“I went through the shower and when I came downstairs, my kitchen was flooded because the water went through the ceilings. We had an ongoing repair report then.”

She discovered the rats had been living in a vent after a worker came to her house to repair her boiler, which had been damaged by the rodents.

“The rats basically chewed all the wires in the boiler. So they came and fixed the boiler and put some poisons down,” Tina said.

“They also identified there were holes in the property and we discovered we didn't have grate covers so the rats have been coming in from the drains.”

The damage that has been caused by the rats (left) and where the rats have been coming from (right).

Tina said she has been “begging” for grate covers from her housing provider but repeated requests had fallen on deaf ears.

She said this is the reason she is refusing to pay the rent amounting to £900, insisting it has to be a “two-way contract” with Together Housing Group.

“I had to be level with them. This rent problem is a two-way contract. Why should I keep paying rent when I have rats all over the house and when I'm requesting repairs they are blatantly ignoring me” she said.

“I've had to buy a brand new washing machine, cooker, fridge and had to replace everything. I've had to replace them because the rats chewed through them.

“I just want my repairs and my rat problems gone...I've got the money to pay that but I've been stubborn because they are not doing their job.”

“Why are you letting me live like this for many years?” she asked.

In response to Tina's complaint, Together Housing said they visited the property earlier this month following reports of rats and work to try and address the issue will take place next week.

Janette Pearce, Head of Income at Together Housing Group, said: “We believe that all tenants deserve a home that is safe and comfortable and we are working to address her concerns as soon as we can. We understand that the situation is difficult for her and we are sorry for the distress this situation may have caused.

“Our staff work closely with tenants to ensure they have the advice and support needed to pay their rent, as this is a contractual obligation and withholding payment can prove complicated to resolve.”

Earlier this week another Together Housing tenant spoke out about rat problems in her home in Manor, claiming she has had to endure rats for 14 years.