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Rats, mice and cockroaches are a problem in 1 in 9 privately-rented homes

15 October 2015

New research by housing charity Shelter has found that almost half a million private rented homes, equivalent to 1 in 9, have suffered from animal infestations such as rats, mice and cockroaches in the last year alone.

A Shelter and YouGov poll of over 3,700 private renters revealed that bad living conditions are rife in rented homes. Almost half (49%) said they had problems with poor conditions or disrepair in the last year.

Over a third of private renters surveyed lived in a property with damp or mould this year (34%), over one-fifth suffered with poor insulation and excess cold (22%), and electrical hazards were reported by 11% of renters.

Last year, almost 6,000 private renters called the Shelter helpline and nearly 400,000 people visited the website for expert advice on conditions or disrepair in their homes.

Shelter helpline adviser, Nadeem Khan, said: "Every day at Shelter, we speak to people desperate for help after being forced to live in appalling conditions for months on end.

"Some of the housing horrors we hear are truly shocking – from people who are forced to live in flats crawling with fleas or rats or with water pouring out of the toilet waste pipe, to those who've been through the ordeal of a fire in their home caused by faulty wiring.

"No-one should have to live in a home which is unsanitary or unsafe, and that's why it's crucial to know your rights as a renter. We are here to help anyone putting up with bad conditions. Our free, expert advice is available online at shelter.org.uk/advice or through our helpline – 0808 800 4444."