A FAMILY driven out of their Farnworth home by a neighbour’s rats say they felt ignored by Bolton At Home.

The Batkitar family have been living in a town centre hotel for a month after father Ilyas caught more than 30 rats in his home in Cawdor Court.

The Bolton At Home tenant claims that he was ignored for years by his housing association and rejected the two housing choices he has been given.

The 43-year-old said: “No one listens, no one cares. Everybody ignored me. It’s not my fault, they should have sorted it out.” Mr Batkitar, who lives with his wife and their two children, aged three and six, said that his family have been traumatised by the experience of living with rats and cannot return to their old home. He and his wife had to sleep next to their children who were terrified of the rats that could be heard crawling around their home.

Mr Batkitar said: “The children are scared because the rats were all over.”

The father-of-three who works at a coffee shop in Bolton said that food went missing from the kitchen before he found rats in the cupboards, his shed and his garden. Bolton Council confirmed that they visited the property after receiving a report in August, 2016 but said they received no further call-outs until June this year.

Mr Batkitar claims he repeatedly told Bolton At Home that he could hear rats in his neighbour’s property for months before they eventually infested his home.

Bolton At Home claim that they were first alerted to a report of rats at Mr Batkitar’s neighbouring property in May, 2018 and a pest control team visited the following month.

In June, the neighbouring property was served an enforcement notice requiring rubbish to be removed, which the council says took place.

But when Mr Batkitar returned to Cawdor Court last week he found rubbish outside the neighbouring property, raising concerns that the rats will return. Bolton At Home inspected the Batkitars’ property and the Rentokil team treated the area and monitored the property in August, which they say is now safe to return to.

A Bolton at Home spokesperson said: “We had previously cleared his neighbouring property of rubbish but were made aware of new rubbish being left this week. We are working with Bolton Council’s Environmental Enforcement team to help address a fly-tipping issue in the borough.”

Given the family’s concerns, the housing association offered the family a choice to move to a “like for like” home 1.5 miles away in Highfield Road, but Mr Batkitar said that this is too far from his mosque and his children’s school, St Michael’s Primary.

A Bolton at Home spokesperson said: “We are sympathetic to what Mr Batkitar and his family have gone through and we have been in regular contact with him throughout the matter. Our team has helped Mr Batkitar and his family during what has been an upsetting time and we remain in contact with them.”

A council spokesman said they have raised residents’ complaints with Bolton At Home.