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Rat Problems

Dear Health Inspector:

I am writing in to file a formal complaint about rat problems in a commercial building on Main Street.  I have leased space in this building for the past 6 months, and I have a three-year contract with the owners, but over the last few months we have had increasing problems with rats.  I run a gym, and we don’t serve or sell any food on the premises, so I don’t know what attracted the rats in the first place.  I am starting to lose business and revenue.  The owners say there wasn’t a rat problem when I moved into the space, so it is up to me as the tenant to take care of the problem.  I don’t have any way of proving their claim one way or another, but I don’t know where to even start with getting rid of the rats and getting my business cleaned up.

The building across the street had a rats nest underneath their stairs, so they knocked the stairs down and got rid of the nest, and I suspect that’s what started the problem in my building.  I started noticing holes near the front door and at the corner of the building right by a ground-floor window, but the noises coming from the ceiling indicate there may be rats living up there, too.  I set out a few traps and caught some rats in my office.  I thought I was fortunate that no rats were out among the customers or in the locker room.

Since then, though, I’ve been getting complaints from people working out at my gym.  There’s a horrible smell of rat urine in the men’s bathroom, and I found out that each rat defecates about 60 times a day.  If that gets into the air vents, then that’s what I’m breathing, that’s what my employees and clients are breathing.  A couple of days ago, one of the trainers that works at the gym told me he saw a rat run across the main floor.  I felt I had to temporarily close the gym.  I’m afraid someone will get really sick, or bitten.

Now, I’m fighting with the owners of the building to come in and at least partially pay to get rid of the rat problem.  Sometimes they tell me that there was just one rat and I’m making a big deal out of nothing, and sometimes they tell me that I’m responsible for paying for the whole thing.  I’m losing revenue quickly and I’m afraid my clients will go to another gym.  Will you please come out to inspect the building so I can prove to the owners that there really is a rat problem?  I’m also getting bids from professional wildlife removal companies to take care of the problem so I can reopen my doors as soon as possible.  Thank you for your help.

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