Fergus Wilson Panorama documentary – now available on iPlayer22:10 PM, 18th March 2019
About A week ago 99
We have an issue with bedbugs in a property that we let out.
We received an email from the estate agent two weeks ago, saying the tenants had been having problems with bedbugs since January. The tenants moved in August 2014. They paid for treatment in January which got rid of them temporarily. They were getting bitten again, and had ask for us to pay the £120 bill, pay for the carpets to be cleaned, and replace one of the beds and mattresses.
We agreed, as the tenants were about to sign a two year contract. A week later, the tenants complained that they were still finding bedbugs. We spoke to the pest control firm, and they said they would do a second treatment, at a cost of £60.
When the pest control firm came round, they said it was an extremely high infestation, and the only way of treating it would be to remove and throw away all of the carpets. This would cost £400, plus of course the cost of replacing the carpets.
I started to look into other treatment. Heat treatment is supposedly the most effective treatment, however it is very expensive. I found a quote of £900 and arranged for them to visit the property. I agreed with the tenants that we would pay for half of the cost.
They came this morning, but apparently the tenants had not prepared the property. There was a list of things to do, mainly around removing clutter so they could access everywhere, and washing all fabrics at a high temperature. I spoke to the pest control firm, and they again said it was a very high infestation, and that it was likely elsewhere in the block of flats. They also said the heat treatment would destroy several bits of the furniture (our furniture). They also said that as it was likely elsewhere in the building, the problem may just come back. They pretty much said that they were reluctant to treat just our flat, without doing a full inspection of the entire block. That would cost £300. Just arranging that with all the tenants would be a nightmare, let alone the problem of cost/liability if any issues were found.
The block of 6 flats is a shared ownership block, all the flats are either part-owned by the owners and the housing association, or privately owned (like ours). I asked the tenants to knock on everyones door and ask them if they had had any problems with bedbugs. Nobody had.
I am really at my wits end and dont know what to do. I have been feeling sick with worry at the amount of money we will have to spend to resolve this problem. I have gone out of my way to help the tenants, particularly financially, and now I am thinking I should have taken a much harder line. Part of me wants to just sell the flat and be done with it, but even doing that I am sure I would need to spend thousands and lots of effort just to get rid of the problem before selling it.
Please help 🙁
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