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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Finvola Dunphy

Mum-of-5 in 'uninhabitable' vermin-infested flat as family forced to sleep in car

A desperate family-of-seven have been forced to sleep in their car after discovering their flat is infested with vermin.

Kay Kennerson-Neal, 27, claims her home, which is above a derelict pub, is "uninhabitable" with smashed windows and rats.

So she, her husband and kids have left the privately-rented apartment in Donisthorpe, Leicestershire, to sofa surf and even sleep in their car at times.

But North West Leicestershire Council, controlled by the Conservative Party, says the family are not a priority because they are not at a "genuine risk of homelessness".

Speaking to Leicestershire Live, worried Kay said: "I'm heartbroken. Myself and my partner are in tears every single day.

"We haven't slept there since December 18 as we were horrified. There are rats everywhere.

"When we first saw the rats, we all screamed and were horrified. I rang the council but nobody believed me.

"I had to go out and buy a camera which I set up in the kitchen to capture them. They were all over the kitchen surface, floor and even in the cupboard where I keep my pots and pans."

Kay claims her children, aged 10, eight, three, two and five-months-old, have suffered sickness and diarrhoea as a result of the vermin.

And she doesn't want to risk their health by staying there any longer despite, she says, still having to pay the £700 monthly rent.

The landlord says it is not clear if the vermin are rats or field mice and they are working very closely with the environmental team and emergency housing team who are satisfied with the living conditions.

But Kay continued: "My children got so poorly - diarrhoea and vomiting that I had to take them out.

"Mentally, I'm breaking down. Every day my husband's mental health is through the roof.

"My kids don't know where they are sleeping from night to night. They scream when they have to go in there. I just can't call it home anymore. I want out now.

"We keep being told we are not a priority. I have young children and a five month old, I don't see how this is possible.

"I just want a safe place to live for myself, my husband and my children."

Kay's mother-in-law, Ruth Neal says she is heartbroken for what her loved ones have had to go through.

The gran said: "I'm worried sick for my family. They have had it rough for the last four weeks.

"I've had both my son and daughter-in-law in tears every single day and every time they enter the building, my grand kids are ill.

"I just want them all in a safe environment. The council should be providing emergency accommodation for them. I just want to see my family happy and safe."

A spokesperson for Kay's landlord said: "We have been working very closely for quite some time with the environmental team and emergency housing to address any concerns from the tenants.

"Pest control has been out and the environmental team have inspected the property and are happy with the living conditions.

"Inside the property, there is a large hole in the kitchen floor which was not there before the tenants moved in. They have been advised to cover this up as it suspected that this is how the vermin are entering the property.

"Similarly, the tenants have been advised to clear away some rubbish that has been left out which could attract the vermin.

"The council have received all the reports of all inspections that have been carried out and they are very happy with the progress we have been making.

"There are a few jobs that we need to do and there have been tradesmen at the property every day this week working on them.

"The environmental team also inspected the downstairs of the Masons and found no infestation."

Andy Barton, Strategic Director at North West Leicestershire District Council, said: "We can't comment on individual circumstances, but we are aware of the family's situation and are working with them and are in touch with the landlord to ensure the property is safe and habitable.

"Rental homes must be fit to live in and kept in a reasonable state of repair, so where properties do not meet this standard we work with tenants and their landlords to make improvements.

"If someone is threatened with homelessness within 56 days we will work with them to try and prevent homelessness either by assisting them to remain where they are or by supporting them in a planned move."

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