A FATHER of five has voiced his frustration over a council's pest control policy after a mouse infestation in his home left his children 'scared to sleep.'
Aaron Baker, 32, moved into a council-owned maisonette in Leigh Park last summer with his wife and five children. But shortly after the move they discovered they were sharing their home with several rodents.
'We found out that before we moved in there was already a mouse infestation but nothing was done about it and it got really bad, he said.
'I was catching between 12 and 14 mice a week. We found one dead beneath my child's bed.
'My five children were scared to go to sleep at night. They were worried the mice would run across them while they slept.'
They contacted Portsmouth City Council – which manages council houses in the area – immediately but were repeatedly told that the council's policy that pest control is the responsibility of the tenant, until last week when the council sent pest control to their house.
But Aaron, of Park House Farm Way, believed the problem should have been handled differently. He said: 'I am relieved but I don't understand why it went on this long.
'We went through all this for the last 15 months with my children too scared to sleep. If other people have this problem I would warn them that the council might not do anything about it.
'Before they agreed to sort it out the council told me I could have pest control round if I paid £40. Why should I have to pay £40 when I am paying full rent? My wife and I both work 45 hours a week and we can't afford it.
'They did say that if my wife and I were receiving housing benefit they would have sorted it out. I don't understand why that should be the case.'
Andrew Thomas, housing manager for the Leigh Park Area Housing Office, explained the situation. He said: 'Tenants are responsible for dealing with any pest control issues within their own home, it is not the responsibility of the landlord.
'If a tenant thinks they may have a pest control problem in their home they may decide to deal with this themselves, or alternatively they may choose to prefer to employ a specialist pest control contractor.
'In this particular case Portsmouth City Council have visited this property and have agreed to pay for pest control after the tenant explained that this has been ongoing issue since they have moved into their home.'