Laura McQueenie lives in a council flat with her sons aged eight, two and seven months and her 15-year-old niece in the Capital’s Niddrie area.
It was after giving birth to her now seven-month- old son when she began to notice the flat was overrun with rats and she says her youngest child is suffering with chest problems and illnesses as a result.
Despite a number of calls to the council since the outbreak in November last year, the problem is still ongoing and she is “disgusted” at how her young family is being treated.
She said: “Two rats have died in my kitchen sink and there are many more we have seen. Every evening I hoover and sanitise all surfaces before bed.
“When I wake in the morning there are rat droppings all over the kitchen work spaces, window sill – they are even inside the bread bag.
“There are droppings all over the living room window sills, the floors.
“I am beginning to think that they are on my son’s bed and that is what is waking him. The council’s approach to this was they gave me steel wool and told me to pack the holes myself.
“They have also been out on a separate occasion to pour some poison down the holes, but it isn’t helping. It is not an environment to be bringing up children and we shouldn’t have to live like this.”
Laura, 27, is an Edinburgh University social work student and admits to having to put her education on hold as she is reaching breaking point at home.
Her request to be moved has also proved unsuccessful, with the council only offering her temporary B&B accommodation.
She said: “One of my children has been diagnosed with autism and ADHD so being in a B&B would not be appropriate and would be detrimental to his health and wellbeing.
“The flat is absolutely disgraceful and it’s disgusting that we have to stay here because there’s nowhere else suitable for us. It’s been horrific living here and it’s heartbreaking that I have no other option.
“I now go to my mum’s during the day because I can’t bear to be there. It’s filthy. The bins outside are a severe health hazard and I’ve been down with rubber gloves trying to clean some of it.”
Convener for Transport and Environment, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: “Pest control is a matter of public health and is a concern we respond to regularly and urgently. We work with all residents and businesses who report pest control problems to us and take all reasonable steps to resolve such problems.
“I empathise with Ms McQueenie and strongly recommend she reports her concerns directly to our pest control team who will be ready to help. In addition, we will be in touch with her urgently.”