Young couple face disgusting conditions living in Weston flat

A row of typical British terraced houses.Picture: Getty Images

A row of typical British terraced houses.Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A young couple have faced harrowing conditions after sleeping alongside rats, silverfish and the smell of sewerage while living in a damp flat in Weston.

The couple, who do not wish to be named, said they became ill from the damp and spent £2,000 trying to make the flat liveable.

The pair said blocked drains led to sewerage pouring into the street, which attracted rats and silverfish into their kitchen.

They said: “We couldn’t live there any longer because of all the problems.

“I didn’t know there was an issue with the drains, so when one is blocked up unpleasant substances pour down the alleyway and into the streets outside – we ignored the smell for months.

“The sewerage was attracting rats to the flat which lived in our kitchen, and the animals left droppings all over the floor.

“Living there had us constantly worried about our health and we became ill from the damp.”

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“We found the silverfish shortly afterwards, which thrive in those conditions.

“We really wanted to stay there so we tried to clean it, which ended up costing us around £2,000.

“It’s been really stressful and nothing was being done straight away, and in all honesty we believe the landlord didn’t care and realistically the building is not safe.

“We are saving for our wedding and this flat was going to be our last rented home before we ended up buying a property.”

The couple went to Citizens Advice and managed to claim back their deposit and admin fees, but they are still trying to recuperate what they spent on making their home liveable.

A new law will come into force this month which means tenants can sue their landlords for not keeping their properties up to a reasonable living standard.

North Somerset Council introduced a voluntary landlord licencing scheme to improve housing conditions in Weston in 2017.

But tenant’s union ACORN says it has not gone far enough, as only 70 landlords have signed up to the initiative against some 4,000 rented homes in the area.

The council received £10,000 from the Government’s Rogue Landlords Fund, which was set up last year to help authorities crackdown on those offering unsafe or inadequate housing.

North Somerset’s executive member for housing, councillor Elfan Ap Rees, said: “Poor housing conditions can impact on tenants’ health and wellbeing, and affects the wider community.

“This funding will enable us to carry out a focussed campaign to provide information to landlords on the minimum housing standards and to empower tenants on their rights and responsibilities in a targeted area of Weston town centre.

“Many landlords provide privately rented accommodation of a very high quality. However, some do very little to maintain and improve their properties.

Weston’s branch of ACORN is holding a tenants’ forum at Weston Town Hall, in Walliscote Grove Road, on March 28 from 3-5pm.

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