Surge in Saviour Semantics Suggests Sanitary Success

Millions of newly-defined 'occupational rodents' could officially enter the private rented sector, as official semantics proposal set to redefine 'vermin'...

Millions of newly-defined ‘occupational rodents’ set to officially be recognised in the private rented sector as, following success in tackling poverty and affordable housing with semantics, the Government look to eliminate claims of infestation by redefining ‘vermin’.

Following Shelter’s latest research that almost half a million private rented homes – equivalent to one in nine – suffered from vermin infestations last year, the Government are stepping in to have a couple of words with the private rented sector…words set to mitigate Shelter’s concerns entirely.

Samantha Sundry, a Senior Semantics Spokesperson for the Government, explained: “We have addressed child poverty by redefining poverty. We are tackling the affordable housing crisis by re-defining what kind of properties count as affordable, as seen in our recent Housing and Planning Bill. Our latest proposals continue this trend of reactionary goalpost shifting by redefining ‘vermin’ as ‘occupational rodents’, thereby alleviating thousands of properties in the private rented sector from so-called infestation.”

Rats, mice, squirrels, liberal bloggers, and other such ‘vermin’ would be affected by the ‘occupational rodent’ redefinition. Under the proposals, occupational rodents would be offered the same rights and securities as other private rented sector tenants, but landlords are anticipating substantially fewer complaints from this typically less-fussy demographic.

“For years the Government has trusted the market to address standards and supply issues in housing,” Ms Sundry continued, “but we are quickly realising the best way to deal with issues is to simply play with language and redefine them so that they’re no longer our problem. What? Sorry – a problem.”

Ms Sundry could not say whether Shelter’s claim that 11% of private renters had reported electrical hazards would also be addressed by semantics.

“I think Ian’s working on that one,” she said. “It’s a ‘prevention rather than cure’ approach – if people are too poor to afford electricity in the first place then related hazards won’t be a problem.”


Almost half a million private rented homes infested with vermin, Shelter, Online:, Available: October 2015

Tories have redefined poverty child poverty as not just about having no money, The Guardian, Online:, Available: October 2015

Artwork: Typhoid Rats, from the Magic The Gathering card of the same name. Owner: Wizards of the Coast.


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