Hilsea man bills Portsmouth City Council £1,090 for damage caused by rat infestation

A MAN who fled to a hotel after an '˜eight to 10-inch' rat ran over his bed has slapped Portsmouth City Council with an invoice for more than £1,000.

Wednesday, 31st October 2018, 8:32 am
Updated Wednesday, 31st October 2018, 9:40 am
Boyd Phipps, from Hilsea. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Boyd Phipps faced the encounter as vermin wreaked havoc at his Hilsea home for almost two months.

But because of what he claims was completely inadequate city council pest control, the 57-year-old said a trail of damage remained '“ and he has called on the authority to reimburse him for it.

But the city council says it gave him free pest control and won't be paying the invoice.

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Boyd Phipps, from Hilsea. Picture: Malcolm Wells

In a September 26 invoice sent to Portsmouth City Council (PCC), the father-of-two demanded £1,090 for '˜poor service and lack of anything done to rectify the problem'.

'˜I think, touch wood, the problem has now been cured,' Mr Phipps said. 

'˜But I looked back on all that has been done and I thought, no, I am not having this.' 

PCC pest controllers visited Mr Phipps' Horsea Road property four times, but the heating and plumbing worker claims they '˜put down poison in ridiculous places'.

the carpet behind Mr Phipps' bed, which he says has been chewed up by rats

As a result he believes rats lingered and ruined his carpet, probably urinated on his bedding and chewed a big bag of shoes in his wardrobe. 

He asked for £435 for those three incidents, alongside £455 he spent on a week-long stay at the Best Western Hotel in Southsea after fleeing because of the rats. 

The final expense is £200 for a fortnight's rent he paid to stay at a flat in nearby Northern Parade because he could not bear to be at home. 

Mr Phipps, who claims the rats disappeared after a separate visit from Havant firm Comserv, said: '˜On reflection I could have gone to a hotel cheaper and nearer, but at the time I chucked a few things in a bag and I thought 'I have got to get out'.

The Best Western Royal Beach Hotel at Saint Helen's Parade, in Southsea. Picture: Google Street View

'˜That was about two hours after the rat ran across my bed.' 

He added: '˜I did not ask for all this to happen, so why should I have to pay for it?' 

Mr Phipps, who lives with his wife and daughter and is currently signed off work for agoraphobia, back pain, panic attacks and reduced vision, said his invoice was '˜generous' to PCC. 

But the council has hit back and refuses to pay a penny. 

A PCC spokesperson said: '˜As a resident of a council property, Mr Phipps received a free pest control service.

'˜We visited on the day he alerted us to the problem, and made four more visits. We usually offer three. The treatment was successful.

'˜The case was very similar to many others we deal with, but unfortunately, dealing with rats does take time and a process has to be followed.

'˜We did not advise Mr Phipps it was necessary to move out of the property. We will not be paying the invoice.'