Pest control problems are contributing to more than four out of 10 homes in Britain failing to reach acceptable standards, says Shelter.
The housing charity has launched a new Living Home Standard that takes account of affordability, neighbourhood, decent conditions, stability and space.
Pest control problems, such as rat infestation and mouse infestation, are often associated with poor housing and are contributing to tens and thousands of homes not meeting the Living Home Standard, says Shelter. Launching the standard, it said affordability of homes was the main concern.
SUPERPROOFTM experts said it was no surprise that pest control was a factor in homes failing to meet Shelter’s Living Home Standard. Mice and rats exploit poorly housing maintenance to enter properties. They then nest in cavities in the walls of buildings, entering human spaces at night to forage for food.
Social housing associations and many private landlords struggle to deal with pests, such as mice problems and rat problems, because traditional pest control remedies often do not work and are expensive.
He said: “Mice and rat infestations can become endemic in some areas because pest control measures that include using rodenticides in baiting and trapping are not long-term solutions.
“They may, at best, supress rodent populations, but they then bounce back when the pest control measures are lifted. Behavioural resistance and resistance to rodenticides in rat and mouse populations make this process worse.
“Over time, this means a huge amount of money is spent on mouse and rat baiting and trapping without solving the underlying problem. This is money that would be better spent on a more long-term, strategic approach to pest control with rodent proofing at its core.”
Case study – ending decades of mouse problems
Silvester House in West London is just the sort of social housing where pest control problems can threaten to cause conditions to dip below the Living Home Standard.
For decades, the 24 flats in the block had suffered serious mouse infestation problems. Repeated attempts at rodent eradication through traditional methods, such as baiting and trapping, had failed.
Arhag Housing Association called in social housing pest control experts SUPERPROOFTM to deliver a permanent solution.
In a two-week programme of mouse proofing, SUPERPROOFTM identified the root cause of the mouse control problem and put in long-term measures to prevent mice from getting into the two-bed flats.
Adeola Oke, Head of Asset Management at Arhag, said: “Since the mouse proofing has been completed, we haven’t had another complaint about mice. Given the scale of the problem we faced at Silvester House, this is unprecedented.
“The SUPERPROOFTM mouse proofing system has been shown to be the most effective method for controlling mice in social housing like this.”
Mouse proofing makes financial sense
Financially-stretched private and social landlords often find it difficult to justify spending money on pest control like baiting and trapping, when they know it is a never-ending drain on their finances. However, as Shelter points out, they have a duty to tackle pest control problems.
Effective mouse proofing and rat proofing is different, as it creates a permanent, measurable pest control solution which aids effective management of housing stock.
A SUPERPROOF director said: “We are pleased that Shelter has created this Living Home Standard. It will encourage social landlords and private landlords to think harder about the quality and effectiveness of their responses to persistent problems like pest control.
“We know, and our property management customers like Arhag know, that mouse proofing done properly is a highly effective pest control technique. It saves money and creates happier tenants.
“Superproofing works just as well with other animals, like rats, birds and squirrels, as with mice. In each case, we use no poisons or traps, so is humane, wildlife-friendly and preferred by families with small children and pets.
“As a pest control measure, it is ideally placed to help meet Shelter’s Living Home Standard.”
For more information on SUPERPROOFTM can help social housing landlords, read our information sheet on the benefits of mouse proofing compared with baiting and trapping.