A single mother in St. John’s found out the hard way how much damage rats can do, and says it is unfair that she had to hire an exterminator to clear her public housing unit. 

Sabrina Newell said she discovered she had rats in her basement on New Year’s Day, after the rodents entered her home through a hole under the floor.

Newell contacted Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, but was was told a supervisor needed to be contacted to come out and look at the problem.

After a week of waiting, Newell said she hired an exterminator herself, but a lot of damage was already done to her property.

Newell said she has thrown out 10 bags of things already, and is preparing to throw out another dozen.

“There was rat feces. They threw up everywhere. They tore the stuffing out of all [my daughter’s] toys,” said Newell.

Her daughter, Brooklyn, has a mild case of autism, and Newell said her playroom in the basement was her world.

Now everything in the basement has to be thrown out, including the carpet.

”As a single mother, I can't afford to buy these things again. These are things she had since she was born,” said Newell.

Newell, who is on social assistance, estimates it will cost about $3,000 to replace everything she’s lost.

Her landlord, Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, said it will take care of the rats.