Rodents oust student from her Jesmond flat

One of the many rats spotted in a Sanderson Road student flat. Photograph: Ellie McGuinness.

Rats in Jesmond have seen one student driven out of her home on Sanderson Road.

Concerns about rats were raised by residents at last month’s South Jesmond ward meeting, with littering by students highlighted as one reason rodents find Jesmond so attractive. Experts say there is no evidence that the rat popluation is increasing, but that the incidence of edible litter on streets make it more likely that rats will find their way into flats and houses.

Newcastle University student Ellie McGuinness says she had no choice but to move out of her accommodation on Sanderson Road following a rat infestation that began in her backyard, then worked its way inside her home.

“It started when the flat above me left rubbish out in the yard, which attracted a family of rats,” said McGuinness, who says that even after the litter was removed, the rats remained in her backyard.

Although she contacted her landlord as soon as the issue arose, McGuinness says there was a lack of urgency in tackling it. When it took another 10 days for pest controllers to arrive, McGuinness decided she would have to leave and stay with family who live nearby.

“Going home has cost me more money, getting to and from university every day and I found myself paying rent for a flat I wasn’t living in,” she said. “It’s still an ongoing issue. We’ve had to have our floor filled in and pest control are keeping an eye on the situation.”

McGuinness says she does not think students are solely to blame for rats in Jesmond. “I would agree that it’s down to bad hygiene, but I wouldn’t say students are completely at fault for this. The flat above me, that initially attracted the rats with litter, is home to a family with two children. But ultimately, it is the state of some of the streets and back alleys that seem to be causing it. Landlords and the council should take more responsibility to investigate and make sure student housing is more secure. And landlords that fail to respond should be fined.”

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