Bristol tenant ‘terrified’ after filming rats in her apartment

A Bristol woman caught rats inside her building on video camera, despite being told by her housing association there was no evidence of rodents in the apartments.

The mum lives in a building near the harbor on Hotwell Road and says she has been plagued by rats coming through her ceiling and scratching inside her walls for weeks, causing sleepless nights for her and her children .

But when she reported the problem to her housing association Sovereign, which manages the building, she was told they could find no evidence of rats.

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The woman, who asked only to be named Caroline, said: “I think it’s quite disgusting to say it’s the end for us because there’s no evidence, and yet you have someone living here saying, ‘but they’re in my ceiling’.

“You can’t end it at this point. That’s why I feel disgusted with Sovereign because they’re not managing anything.”

Sovereign says it is working with Bristol Environmental Health to address the issue and has “arranged a number of visits from pest control companies”.

Caroline first reported the issue in November 2021, telling Sovereign she could hear rats running across her ceiling.

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The housing association paid pest control to fix the problem, and a man turned up three times and laid bait.

But after the third visit, although Caroline told Sovereign the problem was getting worse, she says she was told there was no evidence of rats.

On December 30, the property manager emailed Caroline and said: “On today’s visit there is no evidence of rats in [your flat]. We have checked the entire area where there may be rats and there is no evidence that any of the baits have been taken.”

The email added: ‘At this point there is nothing more I can do, we have to attend (sic) 3 times for a specialist and now await the report.’

Caroline then bought an endoscope camera and put it through a hole in her ceiling, and on January 10, she captured one of the rats on video.

Sovereign said the video was only shown to them “very recently”.

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But Caroline says she feels vindicated after weeks of sleepless nights and disruptions.

She says hearing the rats scratching in her walls was “absolutely terrifying”, as she took to cooking on her balcony to keep the smell of food from attracting the rats.

Meanwhile, her son Teddy is now sleeping in their living room because rats make noise in his bedroom at night, while her 17-year-old daughter Chloe struggles to sleep while studying for her mock exams.

The housing association only takes responsibility for fixing problems in the common areas of the building, and the people who live there pay them a monthly service charge of around £166 to do this – but Caroline thinks that she should get more for her money.

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“I pay £166 a month for the privilege of looking for my own rats. I don’t think that’s fair,” she said.

She says she also faced persistent anti-social behavior in the building and wants Sovereign to apologize for the difficulties she faced.

“It’s taking up so much time that I just don’t feel like I’m taking care of anything in my life. I need to manage, I have two children to take care of,” said she declared.

Ruler’s response

Tony Quigley, Director of Homeownership at Sovereign, said: ‘We want all of our customers to feel safe in their homes which is why we have arranged a number of pest control company tours at our condominium properties on Hotwell Road.

“Until very recently, we had not received the video footage that might show where the rats are entering the building, and we hope this will help determine the point of entry.

“We have worked closely with an officer from Bristol Environmental Health to resolve the issue, baiting around the program, since it was brought to our attention in November 2021.

“We are also planning an independent appointment with a second pest control agency, which should take place as soon as possible.

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“In regards to anti-social behavior in the area, we have resolved an issue where a tenant violated their rental agreement by renting their property as an AirBnB destination, which should lead to reduced noise and other disruptions.

“The local police have also agreed to carry out additional patrols in the area near our car park, and we have held meetings with our residents to ensure that they are happy with this solution.”

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