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Bramley family left to live in rat infested, sewage ridden home over Christmas despite risk of 'infection and disease'; The council found evidence of a rat infestation and a sewage leak and offered the family a Portaloo as an alternative when their bathroom became unusable.

Byline: Maximilian Maerkl

ABramleyfamily was left to live in a rat infested house for almost a month overChristmas, which posed a significant risk to their health.

The Daw family spent the festive season and the birthday of their one-year-old daughter at their Eastwood Road house, despite risk of "contamination, infection and disease" according to an email fromWaverley Borough Council's (WBC) environmental health department.

Rats had chewed through the down pipe of the toilet, exposing the family to hazardous sewage, a council officer confirmed in the email seen by Get Surrey.

"The pest have gained entry behind the WC from the sewers and have nested in the boxed in section," the report states.

What else is happening in Waverley?

The document continues: "The damage made by the pest has caused the foul waste from the WC to discharge into the dwelling which has introduced urine and faecal contamination, with associated micro-organisms, and has created offensive odours.

"The areas where the pest have inhabited and caused the foul waste to discharge internally will need to be sanitised thoroughly to remove any risk of contamination, infection and disease."

Christopher Daw said he first noticed a "foul" smell in the home in late November and subsequently reported the issue to letting agents Gascoigne-Pees.

"The smell started before December but we went through the relative processes to report it, we reported it in its full severity by the December 4 and then again on December 6."

Mr Daw said every time anyone used the toilet, they had to shut the door and open the windows and during the cold winter months, it made bathing and showering difficult.

"Finally, somebody came by December 27 after people had been away for Christmas," said Mr Daw.

'Extreme foul smell'

An engineer found an "extreme foul smell", "unsanitary conditions" and a potential hole in the sewage system, at which point the family called the council's environmental health department which confirmed the raw sewage leak.

When the Daws learned of the health risk, they spent 10 days in various hotels and guesthouses.

The family, who said they were "just about managing", sought further help from Waverley Borough Council, including applying for emergency shelter.

After receiving the council's report on January 3, Gascoigne-Pees scheduled appointments with pest control and contractors on January 4 and January 10 but the family was left to foot their own hotel bills.

The family, who have sold off music equipment to pay for temporary accommodation, were relying on the council to provide emergency housing, said Mr Daw, but this was not been possible.

WBC suggested installing a portaloo, which would mean the family could move back into the house and rent payments would resume.

A council spokesman said: "Unfortunately, the council could not provide anything local enough for the family to meet their work commitments.

"As an alternative, the council suggested a portaloo, containing a WC and wash basin, as a temporary solution which would allow the family to return while repairs were being completed to the WC.

"Portaloos are often provided to residential properties while the main toilet facilities are out of use due to building works."

However, the family said the smell has rendered the bathroom unsuitable for showering.

Samantha Dover, Gascoigne-Pees regional director, said: "We are taking this matter very seriously and our customer care team is working with the Daws to ensure this issue is resolved as soon as possible."

The Daws have since moved to a new property. The family said on Thursday (January 11) it had yet to receive any refunds for rent.

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CAPTION(S):

Credit: Steve Porter

The Daws have been forced to move out of their property after rats chewed through a sewage pipe

Credit: Steve Porter

Pest control contractors have checked the home over for rats

Credit: Steve Porter

The family say the smell is so bad they were unable to use the bathroom
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Publication:Get Surrey (Surrey, England)
Date:Jan 12, 2018
Words:698
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