Video: Horrified homeowner as rat crawls out of toilet

The terrified couple

Margaret (59) and Keith Woods (67) are said to be terrified of using the toilet, after a rat apparently crawled round the s-bend and out into their bathroom.

So how could this happen, and why are rats on the march in the UK?
The couple, from Sutton in South London told the Daily Mail that they have filmed the rat looking up into the toilet from the safety of the S-bend, and on one occasion it even escaped into the bathroom.

The rat has now been in their pipes for eight months, forcing the couple to flush the toilet and run the taps before using the bathroom. However, according to Yahoo, when Thames Water finally came to check their sewers they were unable to find anything. They have cleaned the area and put down poison in the hope it will solve the problem.

Rat attack

It's a horrible shock to find a rat in the toilet, and this couple is not alone.

We reported last April on the couple who moved into a Victorian property, only to discover it was infested with rats, including a large rat nest under the floorboards in the kitchen filled with droppings and skeletons. They complained that it should have been picked up in the survey, only to find there is no onus on a surveyor to pick up a rat problem.

The number of infestations is on the rise in the UK, partly due to an increase in the number of people renting homes, and falling living standards.

Another factor is the fact that budget cuts mean more councils are refusing to offer pest-control services, and that many are removing rubbish more irregularly, which attracts rodents. The latest estimate of the UK rat population puts the number at anything up to 20 million.

We recently reported that two thirds of pest control operators have seen the numbers of vermin call-outs jump sharply in the last year - with up to 200 rats found in a single property, in one case.

The damage they can cause can be extensive According to LV=, vermin has caused £500 million of damage to properties in the last year.

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Act fast

Every form of infestation will have its warning signs. Rats will tend to leave brown smudges round the skirting-boards and there will be a musty smell, mice will leave small black droppings and you may find small holes chewed in clothes, furniture and cupboards. Cockroaches leave casings and an oily odour. Moths and wasps, meanwhile tend to be spotted by homeowners.

If you have any concerns at all it's essential to act fast to deal with an infestation, before it has a chance to get any worse.

Factors damaging property value
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Video: Horrified homeowner as rat crawls out of toilet

Pre-recession, homeowners would give little thought to the idea that local repossessions could affect the value of their home. 101 repossessions were recorded every day during the third quarter of 2011 and it has become a real concern.

A new crime map introduced in March 2011 was welcomed by buyers, but approached with trepidation by homeowners concerned about the impact on local property values. The map allows users to view crime statistics online by postcode to find out the crime rates and types of crime in any area.

It is widely recognized that schools with a good reputation increase competition and property demand within a local area, which in turn increases the values of property within the catchment area. Lose the school and the demand will cease too.

The devastation caused by flooding in recent years doesn't appear to paint a positive picture for homeowners faced with the financial and emotion cost of a huge clean up, insurance complications and the potential damaging effect on property values.

The proposed high speed rail link is depressing house prices for thousands of homeowners on the route and many homeowners feel helpless to stop tumbling property values.


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