TWO members of an Oxford housing union have been arrested while protesting against a letting agency's plans to evict an Oxford family from their home.

The family-of-four, who live in the home in Cowley, sought the help of the local branch of tenants’ union ACORN after they received an eviction notice in February.

Carla Pacifico moved into the property with her partner Alexandre Mologni - a porter at the John Radcliffe Hospital - and her two children in 2019.

Soon after, however, she said they discovered it was a 'disgusting' home that had rats which regularly keep them up at night and gnawed on electrical wires.

In January last year, Oxford City Council inspected the house after complaints from the tenants and found multiple hazards including damp, mould, heating concerns and electrical hazards caused by pests, documented in a report seen by this paper.

After that report, the estate agency and landlord began repairs to fix the hazards and finished that process January.

However, Ms Pacifico says the rat infestation has continued with the animals still 'squeaking and hissing' and chewing wires.

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On January 29 this year, Ms Pacifico emailed the letting agency Ryeview Homes to say that a pest control worker from Terminix had found the body of a dead rat in the ceiling and told her there could be a nest.

A member of staff at the agency replied to her saying: "I thank you for your continued patience and hopefully between Terminix, ourselves and Mr Browning’s team, we will be able to resolve this pest issue once and for all for you to continue enjoying your residence."

Oxford Mail: Photo of a rat caught in the Cowley property taken on November 9 last yearPhoto of a rat caught in the Cowley property taken on November 9 last year

The next month, however, the family were served with an eviction notice giving them six months to leave the house.

They say they want to stay in the property and they want the lettings agency to do more to tackle the alleged rodent problem, and they are asking for compensation.

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Yesterday afternoon, members of ACORN staged a protest in support of the family outside Ryeview Homes' office in High Wycombe.

When police officers arrived, they arrested two members of ACORN and took one of them to Newbury Police Station.

Photos from the scene show a protestor being cuffed by an officer.

Safieh Kabir, ACORN Oxford chairman, said: "Our members have acted legally and responsibly to protect an ACORN member and her family, who are facing an unjust eviction during the pandemic.”

Oxford Mail: Member of ACORN Oxford arrested at a rally outside of Ryeview Homes on Wednesday afternoonMember of ACORN Oxford arrested at a rally outside of Ryeview Homes on Wednesday afternoon

Ms Kabir added that the demonstration was within current Covid-19 legislation that allows support groups of 15 people outside.

Thames Valley Police said: “Police were called at 2.23pm yesterday to a report of a group of people protesting and attempting to gain entrance to a commercial property on Crendon Street, High Wycombe.

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“Officers attended and arrested a man, aged 21, on suspicion of criminal damage. He remains in police custody.

“A woman, aged 27, was also arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and bailed.”

Ryeview has been asked for a comment.

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