By Robert Firth, Reporter for Local Democracy
An elderly couple sues the court over bed bugs biting them while they sleep.
Teresa Lloyd, 59, and her chronically ill husband David, 72, are demanding Southwark Council pay them compensation for the five-year infestation at their home.
They claim the pests are hiding in the building’s electrical outlets and plumbing, which they say is the responsibility of the city government as their landlord and owner of the high-rise.
Ms Lloyd claims she spent hundreds of pounds on pest control companies to fumigate the flat herself. But despite their best efforts, the bugs keep coming back.
The couple now want the council to compensate them for the trouble they caused fighting the bugs and refund them the money they had to shell out to solve the problem themselves.
Ms Lloyd said: “They’re only tiny but they can bite quite a bit. It’s serious. You can feel it – you want to scratch your feet and legs.
“My husband has been bitten the most, especially on his legs and lower body. He suffers from high blood pressure and needs to take medication. It doesn’t help at all. I was also bitten – mostly at night.
“The council sent someone to treat the flat this week, but for the past few years I’ve had to pay for a private pest control company to come and fumigate the flat. It cost £695 before VAT.”
The couple, who have lived in the fourth-floor apartment in Borough for 22 years, want the council to carry out a full inspection of the Lant Street tower block.
They fear bed bugs will continue to return until the root of the infestation is discovered.
Mrs Lloyd said, ‘You [the bed bugs] can get into the pipes and the entire building needs to be checked and treated. They will just keep coming back when they are in other houses.
“We know that some apartments on the block have people living in overcrowded conditions. If we get the bed bugs, other people will. We used to know neighbors with the same problems, but they have since moved out.”
She added: “We shouldn’t have to put up with bugs, nobody should. Our bedroom is quite nice and we have nice wallpaper. We do our best to keep it clean and pretty. It could be a nice home if it weren’t for the bugs.”
Ms Lloyd and her husband hope their legal battle with the council will eventually bring about a solution to the problem that has plagued their lives for years. They have set a first court date for March of this year.
Southwark Councilor Darren Merrill said: “I can confirm that this is a legal case that we are aware of and dealing with. I hope we can come to a solution soon.”
Teresa Lloyd is suing Southwark Council over a five-year bed bug infestation in her borough flat (Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga)