Sian Hope moved into a council house which was plagued by rats, with the rodents gnawing through her electricity cables and bed slats and making a nest inside her sofa
Rats laid a nest inside a woman’s sofa as she awaited the birth of her child.
Sian Hope had been begging the Birmingham City Council to help with an infestation of vermin.
The pests had gnawed through her electricity cables and bed slats, Birmingham Mail reported.
While the council sent pest control many times to try to resolve the issue, Sian and her toddler continued to be plagued with rat droppings and nightly scampering.
The exasperated mum took the council has court which led the authority to rid Sian of her rat problem – just days before she gave birth on July 14, 2021.
“The council managed to treat the mouse and rat problem just after the court case and I’ve not heard or seen any signs of them since,” said Sian, whose name has been changed as she previously fled an abusive partner.
“They’ve also cut down the trees as there was an argument over whether it was squirrels, even though I had evidence that it was mice and rats,” she added.
“This was such a relief as I’d been feeling really anxious. You have to keep everything sterile with a newborn and I knew that was going to be very difficult with a rat infestation.
“My baby was six days overdue and it was a difficult birth but we’re all OK now. My daughter is really hands on with him, she loves him, brings him his dummy and helps to change his nappy.”
Sian and her two-year-old daughter had fled their home with just the clothes on their backs in September.
They ended up staying in a refuge until they were offered a two-bedroom, end-terrace house near Birmingham city centre in March.
Unable to view the property due to Covid restrictions, the mum accepted the house and was devastated when they moved in.
Not only did she find rats, she discovered broken floorboards, no carpets, limited skirting boards and a rotten loft.
What little furniture and white goods they had were destroyed by the rats.
The council has already paid compensation to Sian after her fridge stopped working when rats chewed through the electric cable.
The upstairs had to be rewired due to the fire risk caused by rats gnawing through the wires.
In July, a judge ordered the council to pay compensation to Sian for her damaged bed and sofa, but she is still awaiting the payment.
A spokesman for the council said that her compensation claim had been received and that they were in the process of asking for additional supporting evidence.
He said: “We are pleased that the tenant’s property is now rodent free following treatment and have apologised for the distress caused.
“The Council acknowledges the receipt of the compensation claim, and are in the process of asking the customer for additional supporting evidence.”
Sian has had to scrimp and save to replace her furniture and try to carpet the bedrooms.
“The judge ordered that the council pays me compensation for my sofa and bed and I filled in the forms in July but they’ve still not paid it yet,” she said.
“I ended up having to go out and buy new ones because I couldn’t face bringing a newborn into my home without a sofa or a bed.
“My daughter and I had been cooped up in my bedroom for so long and I knew that health visitors would be coming round and I would have nowhere for them to sit.
“I still have bare floorboards in my daughter’s bedroom. I’ve put a rug down next to her bed so that she doesn’t have to tread onto the rough floor when she gets up.
“I’m paying a carpet company a weekly amount to get it done and hopefully that will happen at the start of October.”
Sian has done all of the work to her home so her newborn will be comfortable, but she still wants the council to move her.
She said that she will not be classed as high priority unless she moves out and declares herself homeless – something she’s not prepared to do with a newborn and a toddler.
“I’m not going to stay in this house,” she said.
“My daughter’s room is too small for her to share with her brother.
“When I’ve been here a year, next spring, I’m hoping to swap with someone else. I’ve updated my profile with the council, telling them about my baby and put in a new application saying that this house is no longer big enough. I’d really like a three bedroom property.
“With everything that’s gone on here, I’ve not been able to enjoy it and I just don’t want to be here any more.”
* Sian’s name has been changed to protect her identity.