If you were confronted with a house piled high with rubbish, accumulated over a number of years that was now infested with rats and God knows what else, chances are you would light a match, throw it in there and run about 30 miles in the opposite direction.
Not Colette and Stephen Dowd, though. Instead, the Runcorn couple turned a hoarder’s hovel into an ‘absolute palace’.
The grime soaked property was already on the same street the Dowds lived on, with the couple telling their grandkids not to play near the house due to the amount of rats that were circulating around it.
Cleaning the house was a mammoth task entrusted to Merseyside House Clearing, who rid the house of mountains of old electrical appliances, magazines and, y’know, dead rats.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Colette said: “We didn’t know the extent of it, there was no way of knowing they were living like that. We just kept saying there’s something not right here.”
Stephen added, “We bought this house last August and it was in a state of disrepair.
“Next thing we knew there were rats running around our garden, they’d made their own home here. When we eventually got in, it had to be specially cleared out.
“The damage was just unbelievable. There was holes in the walls, the doors were hanging off, we’ve had to replace everything.
“And as you can see, we’ve completely refurbished the whole house, with new doors, new skirting boards, every wall has been re-skimmed.
“And upstairs has been completely rebuilt and there’s a new bathroom with a new en suite. There’s a new cloakroom downstairs.
“Everything, there’s new radiators, new fridge and freezers – literally everything. We’ve had about 40 skips.
“We’ve redone the whole garden and hopefully now the new tenants can move in this week. A nice family are moving in, hopefully they can look after it and we can all get on with our lives.
“We’re all made up with it.”
Maybe get a new cat to go along with the new house in case any rats decide to return, though. Just a thought.