It was the cold that Robert Strickland noticed first.

Then it was the scratching. But it was no ordinary scratching. He would later discover it was the scratching of giant water rats that had invaded his Huntly rental home which he'd hoped to share with his seven children.

Then there was the itching from the flea infestation and the discovery that cockroaches had also decided to make it their new home.

It was when both he and his children started to get sick, about a week after staying there, that he began to complain to his property manager.

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Focus: Huntly man Robert Strickland speaks to The New Zealand Herald about the house he thinks is uninhabitable for his family Video / Alan Gibson

The firm

Harcourts disputes claims