RESIDENTS of a bed bug-infested block of flats have said their situation has become an ‘epidemic’.
The problems at Cardigan House, in Kent Street, Portsea, began nearly two years ago.
And despite residents’ repeated calls for urgent action, they say the blood-sucking pests are still making their lives hell.
Resident Leah Mead said her young children have been regularly bitten and that it was causing stress to the family.
She says they have had to throw away furniture and been constantly cleaning to try and combat the pests, which live in cracks and crevices.
She said: ‘Our bed bug situation has become an epidemic. I had a mental breakdown and went to stay with a friend with my children for two nights.
‘My son was covered in bites from only one night upon returning to my home.
‘Despite the fact I advised Southern Housing that all the flats would need to be treated at the same time, they are only doing mine and a friend’s, who called and had to fight to be heard.
‘This is appalling and my mental health has deteriorated to the point where I fear I can no longer perform normal daily activities due to the depression, anxiety and constant stigma placed upon my family.
‘I want to show Southern Housing for what it is – negligent to its tenants.’
The block is managed by Southern Housing, which has 803 homes in Portsmouth.
A spokesman said it had treated the block last year as a goodwill gesture to its residents, despite pest control not being part of its responsibilty.
Paul Cotton, head of home management south, said: ‘I visited the block last week to meet affected customers and we’ve agreed to fund a further treatment to all the flats we manage on the first floor – although pest control would normally be our customers’ responsibility.
‘We’ll also contact our other customers in the block to judge the scale of the problem.’
He said that Southern Housing Group is not the sole landlord for the whole of the block so it could not give general advice for all residents, as many do not live in one of its properties.
However he said that it would be working with its customers to help.