‘It’s like a scary film’: York family forced out of their home three times – by an infestation of rats

‘It’s awful having to deal with something that brings disease’

York council has apologised to a young family that has had to move out of their home three times because of rats.

Lauren Wharton and her three children have been living in their council house on Scarborough Terrace in Clifton for four years.

In that time the family have had to leave their home on three occasions for City of York Council’s pest control team to get rid of rats.

Lauren, 29, said she had discovered dead rats in the kitchen and bathroom.

She said at one point there were also flies coming out of the walls and it was “like something out of a scary film”.

Running round the bathroom

Scarborough Terrace, York. Photograph © Google Street View
The family moved out of the house for the third time on July 10 for the rats to be removed and for the property to be cleaned.

And they have not yet been able to move back home because – although the council told Lauren the pest control team had finished the work – on her return she found more rats and rat droppings.

She said:

  • There were rats running around the bathroom. One morning a rat was found dead in my tub.

    There was a fly infestation with thousands of them – it was like something out of a scary film.

    I have gone back again [after being told the work was completed] and within minutes I found there was rat droppings.

    I’ve just had to move out again. This will be the third time I’ve had to move – it’s absolutely horrendous.

Lauren said she doesn’t want her children, aged 18 months, four years old and five years old, to go back to that house. “I woke up one morning and discovered a dead rat next to my dog’s food.

“It’s awful having to deal with something that brings disease. It’s just a nightmare.

“It’s giving my kids the worst start in life.”

Lauren, who has three children said the council is not doing enough to maintain the property and get her family moved back in. She said she is still waiting to hear when they can go home.

We’re very sorry

A spokesman for the council apologised for the inconvenience and said they’re working to get the family back into their house as soon as possible.

Mike Gilsenan, head of building services at the council, said: “We’re very sorry that this has happened and have apologised to the tenants.

“We had cleaned and secured their home immediately before they moved back.

“While we’re assessing whether vermin is still present, we have moved the family back to the temporary accommodation they had just left.

“We understand their distress, and are working to return them to their home as quickly as possible.”