Burnley mum's anguish over rat infestation at house as MP reveals other tenants being threatened with Section 21 notices
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Sarah Krzysik (43) described her plight as “a living hell” after the latest of several infestations of rats at her home in Coal Clough Lane.
Speaking to the Burnley Express, Sarah described her awful situation which has included the rats urinating on her settee and her child’s bed.
She added that pleas to her private landlord had fallen on deaf ears, and several visits from Burnley Council where officials have put down rat poison, have not solved the problem.
She said: “I feel dirty. My home doesn’t feel like my home anymore. I’ve lived in this house for five years now and we’ve had a few occasions where rats have got in.
"This latest has been the worst. I’ve been chased round the kitchen by one of the rats and one even jumped out of my bathroom cabinet. My two eldest children refuse to stay over at the house now, but my two youngest have learning difficulties. I’ve had to throw away a mattress because a rat weed on it. It’s a living nightmare.”
Sarah also said that a recent horrible smell, which she thought may have been a gas leak, was likely to have been that of a decomposing rat.
She added: “The gas engineer who came out couldn’t trace a gas leak but said it could have been the smell of a decomposing rat. It’s just awful. The house is also suffering from damp.”
Sarah contacted her ward councillor, former Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, who revealed her case is one of a number of desperate families in Burnley who are being threatened with Section 21 notices from their landlords, or no-fault evictions, although Sarah is not one that has been served such a notice.
A section 21 notice is a form which notifies tenants that their landlord is evicting them from the property. Homelessness charities have condemned the practice, with it often leaving tenants facing homelessness for no reason given.
Coun. Birtwistle said: “It’s horrendous that Sarah and her children are having to live in a damp, rat-infested house. Is this the kind of living conditions we want tax-payers money going towards?
“This is 2022 and it’s just unbelievable that we are asking people to live in these conditions. Sarah is just one of four mothers I’ve had contact me in recent months who are having trouble from their landlords.
“Some of them have been threatened with Section 21 notices. One landlady wanted to turf out her tenant so she could turn the property into a house of multiple occupation and earn more money from it. Some of these landlords are absolutely ruthless.
“The problem is, here in Burnley, there are no spare properties for people to move into and so families are being put at risk of homelessness by these uncaring landlords.
“It is a desperate situation that many families, often young women with children, are facing in Burnley. The Government need to scrap these Section 21 notices as soon as possible.”
Previous prime minister Liz Truss had promised to scrap the controversial practice, but it is not known at this stage what new leader Rishi Sunak will do.