“I wouldn’t be happy showering under a rat”

That from the landlord of a Palmerston North, New Zealand flat, who apparently let her tenants shower with water from a heater containing a dead rat.

The Manawatu Standard reports that the two flatmates are nervously awaiting the results of blood tests after they learnt the "smelly water" they had been drinking and showering in came from a tank housing a badly decomposed rat.

Having suffered bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting before becoming aware of the corpse, they still have to shower at their parents’ homes and clean cooking utensils on the front lawn.

The saga began in early November when a 19-year-old resident noticed the water was "smelly" and she began feeling ill.

Her mother, worried sewerage had seeped into the water pipes, contacted the council, which in turn flushed the home’s pipes.

Several weeks later the shower blocked up, which eventually led to a plumber finding what was left of the large rat.

Rather than remove it, he gave instructions not to use any water until someone else did the dirty work.

The landlord said, "I can’t believe they didn’t ring me to say it was still there. I thought it was gone. Oh, I just feel ill. I have barely slept thinking about rats in tanks. It’s just a dreadful situation, but I thought the plumber or sanitisers had dealt with it."