A Mosgiel mother wants the Government to pay the costs of
cleaning up a rodent-infested state house. Photo by Stephen
A Mosgiel mother wants the cleaning bill for a
rodent-infested state house to be paid by the Government.
The former tenant (36) said she and her two sons had lived in
the house for three years when a foul smell started
permeating from her 11-year-old son's bedroom but she could
not locate its source.
Then an insulation installer refused to work under her son's
bedroom because of the ''health risk'' of working among the
rodent ''carcasses'' under the house, she said.
The house then became infested with rodents, which were
entering the house through holes in the floorboards and ate
food from the pantry.
The infestation was so bad her son winced when he saw cartoon
rodents on television, she said.
Housing New Zealand (HNZ) told her to kill the rodents with
poison, she said.
However, the poison was ineffective so she convinced HNZ to
get an exterminator in, who called the infestation
''severe'', she said.
HNZ ''reluctantly'' agreed to pay for an exterminator and a
week in a motel, but after fumigation the house smelt
terrible and the family deemed it unfit to live in.
''It smelt like death.''
The family were moved into another state house by HNZ but had
to pay another bond and rent in advance and were told they
would be billed for new floorboards, the rental of a skip bin
and cleaning costs.
The possessions they left in the house during the fumigation,
including couches, chairs, linen and the children's beds,
smelt of poison but would be removed at her cost, she said.
HNZ told her she was liable for the costs because compost
containing food scraps had attracted the rodents, but the
compost was grass and hedge clippings and did not contain
food, she said.
''I swear on my brother's grave. I don't have food to
HNZ tenancy services manager Symon Leggett said the state
house was visited when the tenant contacted HNZ about mice in
''We then took immediate action to relocate the tenant to a
motel so we could assess the extent of the issue and how it
could be fixed. We soon realised that the property required
She accepted the offer of another state house and
investigation of the old property revealed that mice were
attracted to a build-up of rubbish and compost that had been
dumped by the tenant, he said.
''We have cleared the rubbish and are conducting repair work
so the property can be re-tenanted,'' Mr Leggett said.
HNZ was removing her furniture and recouping costs from the
tenant, Mr Leggett said.