Northampton woman criticises NPH after fleeing council flat block because of 'nightmare' bedbug infestation

"I can't live there. I can't go back.”

Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 3:38 pm

A Northampton woman says she is living a “nightmare” after moving out of her council flat block because of a “mad” bedbug infestation.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she fled her Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH) flat at St Marks House in Herbert Street back in October 2021.

The 43-year-old said: "I can't live there. I can't go back. Me and my partner live there, the last night spent in there we couldn't sleep - we both work 45 hours a week each.

St Marks House in Herbert Street and St Andrews Street

"I'm stressed. My life is not the same. I can't have a home. I'm living in one room at my mum's, cramped, with no stuff. It's a nightmare.

"I had to go and live with my mum after 20 odd years living there on my own. I'm thankful I had the option because other people in this situation might not have had this option.”

The woman claims a neighbouring property is the source of the problem but that the tenant has denied access to pest control services for reasons unknown on multiple occasions.

She said: "NPH has fumigated my property - in January - because I allowed them to have access. However, that's not the case for the source of the problem [the neighbouring property].”

Despite leaving in October, the woman has continued to pay her £350 a month rent and £130 a month council tax to avoid going to court. So far she has spent around £4,500 in bills while not living in the property.

She says she has been back and forth with NPH over the last nine months but has not been able to resolve the issue.

When asked what it will take for her to return, the woman said: "I need to be able to know that there are no bedbugs in the property anymore and that they are not going to find their way back in to my flat. I don't want to take the risk knowing that they are downstairs still.

"I want to buy the flat but I can't if it's infested with bedbugs. It's a mad situation."

Nicky McKenzie director for housing at Northampton Partnership Homes said: “We know that [the resident] has reported issues with bedbugs in the past, and we have covered the costs of pest control treatments for her flat and the flat below hers.

"Our contractors visited a number of times to fumigate and treat the properties, and wrap and dispose of furniture. The final visits took place in February and March when it was confirmed that there was no evidence of bedbugs in either property and that the problem had been eradicated. [The resident] was left with bedbug monitors at the time for reassurance, and was encouraged to get in touch if she had further problems.

"We did not know that [the resident] was still having issues with bedbugs until the housing ombudsman contacted us and asked us to deal with this issue through our internal complaints procedure. We have asked our pest control contractors to visit the affected properties again, and we will act upon their findings.”

Chronicle & Echo has previously reported on this block of flats being infested with bedbugs back in March 2021. Click here to read more.