Young woman stuck living in shipping container and car as rats infest her home

A woman has been left living in a shipping container and a car after rats infested her home and gave her no choice but to leave.

Tia Henderson, 20, has spent the past five months of her life couch surfing, sleeping in a shipping container and residing in a car owned by her friend.

Her decision to do so comes after rats infested her flat, leaving the 20-year-old – who spent the first 18 years of her life in foster care – with no choice but to up sticks and move out.

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Hearing scratching in her walls led Henderson to believe she was "going crazy", but it turned out she had a rodent infestation on her hands.

Pest control was called to the home after Henderson noticed two rats wandering around her kitchen, a sign, pest control said, of a "big infestation".

Despite contacting the council to find emergency accommodation, she was offered options that did not accept pets, leaving her dog Tiny with nowhere to go.

Rather than give up a good friend, Henderson instead opted to live in a car, a shipping container and a friend's couch.

Because she refused the accommodation though, Henderson has been deemed as "intentionally homeless" by council workers six months on from the issue first being noted.

Henderson said: "I was happy there, had made memories, I had friends nearby and life was great. Until June 2022 when I heard scratching in the walls. I convinced myself I was going crazy."

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She mentioned "two baby rats" were "confidently" playing around in the kitchen, something that "mortified" the 20-year-old and led to her needing to seek other accommodation, Metro reported.

Henderson also spoke of her options, which would have split her from pet friend Tiny, adding: "I made a commitment to my dog when I got him. A dog is for life. I have no family, he is my only family. I explained that he saved my life and kept my mental health stable."

A spokesperson for Oldham Council said: "We can confirm that this resident is currently living in temporary accommodation while the issue is addressed and some repairs are carried out.

"We have offered to pay for the temporary accommodation and, once complete, she will be able to move back into her home."

A separate statement from Great Places and Wates Living Space added: "We are sorry for the issues Tia has experienced with her home and we are working with her to carry out repairs that will allow her to return as soon as possible.

"We have also agreed to install new flooring, provide new white goods, and provide replacement furniture so that Tia can return home."

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