Plague of rats terrify flat dwellers in two-year reign of terrorDecember 7, 2023
Plague of rats terrify flat dwellers by climbing walls, breaking into cars and chewing through Christmas gifts in two-year reign of terror
- Overland Mews apartment block in Peterborough is said to be overrun with rats
Council flat tenants say they have been invaded by a plague of rats causing terror by climbing walls, breaking into cars and even chewing through Christmas gifts.
Families living in the Overland Mews apartment block, in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, say they have been terrorized by hundreds of disease-carrying vermin.
Now dozens of furious renters are withholding their monthly payments until their housing association steps in to rid them of their pest problem.
Abbie Snart, 25, who lives with her children in a two-bed flat, said she suffered sleepless nights after the rats got into her car and set off the alarms.
She no longer feels comfortable emptying her bins after the feasting vermin took over the wheelie bin area – jumping out at those who come close by.
Families living in the Overland Mews apartment block, in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, say they have been terrorized by hundreds of disease-carrying rats climbing up to their windows
Abbie Snart, 25, who lives with her children in a two-bed flat, said she suffered sleepless nights after the rats got into her car and set off the alarms
Ms Snart wrote to her housing association, Hyde Housing, to demand they address the problem – but she received a response querying whether her images showed the damage was caused by rats (Pictured: part of the car upholstery allegedly gnawed at and soiled by a rodent)
Ms Snart said: ‘We have small rats, medium rats and absolutely massive rats that are scary. They’re making their burrows in the mud.
‘If you look at the front of the properties, all around the bin area, there’s mud patches and holes where they mate and have babies.
‘We’ve had five cars damaged so far on the road, and I’ve personally had a seat belt completely chewed off my child’s car seat. I had to buy a new one.
‘And they are always on the windowsills or climbing the walls, so people especially on the ground floor can no longer really open their windows.
‘I went through a week or two of no sleep because my car alarm was going off every hour in the night when the rats were going in there.
‘Every time I went to my car they’d be running around inside. It’s an infestation.’
Emmy Dean, who also lives on the street, said she had been forced to throw away Christmas gifts after the rats broke into her car and gnawed their way through them.
She added: ‘It has been going on for two years, and it has been getting worse and worse. Some got in my car and chewed through Christmas presents we had brought.
‘Even the ones they didn’t chew through have had to be thrown away as they have rat urine on them.
A rat nesting area at Overland Muse near the bins. Ms Snart says she is no longer comfortable emptying her bins
A rat pictured on the window sill of a home in the Peterborough apartment block
Rats have been pictured scaling the walls of Overland Mews by horrified residents
‘Losing the presents is financially crippling for us. We had hidden them there while our child was at home, and it was only one night.’
Ms Snart said she has lived with her children, aged two and four years old, at the housing association-owned flat since July 2021, where she pays £550 per month in rent.
And during this time, she has taken countless photographs and videos showing how the rats have slowly surrounded the three-storey block of flats.
She now says residents live in fear each day that they’ll get into their homes while having to fork out to fix their cars after the rats inflict expensive damage.
She said: ‘I know it’s winter, so it’s not a massive issue. But because we can’t open the windows, there’s mould appearing. So that’s leading to a further issue.
‘We cannot physically use the bin area safely and properly. Because there are honestly about 100 rats in there and that’s not exaggerating.’
Ms Snart wrote to her housing association, Hyde Housing, to demand they address the problem, offer an apology and give her compensation for the cost of the damage.
But a written reply from the group stated: ‘The pictures you sent do not show how the rats are getting into your vehicle and the damages do not appear to have been done by rodents.
‘We will not be reimbursing you for the items you claimed to be damaged by pests and I do not uphold your complaint.’
Ms Snart shared a picture of damage to her child seat, apparently caused by rats
Fabric appeared to have been gnawed at in Ms Snart’s child seat, with some of the seat’s stuffing coming out
Ms Snart says there is damage caused by rats throughout her vehicle
Ms Snart says she has endured sleepless nights after the rats got into her vehicle and set off the alarms
Ms Snart said following the letter, dated December 1 this year, she has now decided to hold off paying her rent until the problem is dealt with.
She said: ‘We are withholding our rent, which we’re within our legal right to do.
‘We want to be reimbursed for the items we’ve had to pay for to be fixed, and I was looking for compensation for my treatment by Hyde.
‘And we’d like an apology from Hyde.’
Adrian Addo, Property Team Manager at Hyde Housing said in response: ‘I’d like to apologise to our customers at Overland Mews for the issues they’re experiencing with rats – I know how distressing this can be.
‘Please be assured that we’re aware of the problem and have been working with Peterborough City Council’s refuse department, our pest control contractor and our grounds maintenance team to address the issues.
‘We have a full action plan in place. This includes removing hedges, as they’re used as hiding places for rats and conducting regular treatments including treating and filling in potential rat holes.
‘We’ve also written to residents to advise them to dispose of refuse responsibly.’
A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council said: ‘We have previously been made aware of issues regarding overflowing bins in Overland Mews which was resolved after liaising with the housing association.
‘An officer from our environmental health team will visit the area to reassess the situation and will work with the housing association to take any appropriate action.’
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