A mother criticized the Haringey Council residential arm after part of her blanket nearly fell on her and she suffered a bed bug infestation that required therapy.
Robyn McDermott, who lives on Wordsworth Parade in Harringay, said she “almost had a nervous breakdown” after waking up with insect bites and seeing one of the insects crawling on her baby.
The mother of two said she had been plagued by the bugs for a year and was suffering from “really bad allergic reactions” to her bites.
However, she claimed the council’s housing arm, Homes for Haringey, only agreed to move her family out to resolve the issue after posting pictures of “massive beehives” on her skin.
Ms. McDermott, who teaches at a school in Enfield, said, “I was really scared. I was pushed into therapy. I am not comfortable in my own home. ”
She said she reported mushrooms growing on the ceiling to the council in August – but although her email was confirmed, no action was taken.
A week later, Ms. McDermott said she went to the bathroom with her two-month-old baby in the middle of the night and the ceiling “collapsed”.
“A massive part of the ceiling almost fell on us,” she said. “It took you until October to complete this job. They left us in the apartment and I could hear my neighbor upstairs. ”
Ms. McDermott said the bed bug problems had persisted for a year and affected her during her pregnancy. She tried twice to get rid of the bugs, but they came back after a few weeks.
She said the council finally took her family to a hotel for a week while trying to deal with the infestation, but the beetles soon returned.
“The problem went away for a couple of weeks and then it would come back,” she said. “It affects the entire block. The council refused to cover the whole block for months – they only treated a few apartments. So the problem still continues. ”
Ms. McDermott said she was “moved to tears” by the infestation and found it “extremely embarrassing,” which meant she did not want to invite friends or family to her apartment when the coronavirus lockdown rules were less stringent.
She hopes the local council will move her family to more suitable accommodation.
Homes for Haringey said plans were being made to fix the ceiling when the problem was reported.
After it collapsed, it was treated as an emergency and work was done to make the ceiling safe.
The cabinet arm added that there had been some delays in replacing the ceiling and decorations while waiting for a round of insecticide treatment to get rid of the bed bugs.
Homes for Haringey said initial troubleshooting of the bugs was successful. When they reappeared, follow-up treatments were carried out on Ms. McDermott and in additional apartments.
Cllr Emine Ibrahim, Haringey Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal, said, “Homes for Haringey worked with Ms. McDermott and her neighbors to resolve these issues and understand that it was a really difficult time.
“We apologize for the distress this has caused you.
“As soon as the blanket became an emergency, Homes for Haringey acted immediately to make sure everything was safe.
“The bed bug infestation was greater than Homes for Haringey expected and we understand residents are concerned that there are contractors in their home at this point, which also impacted the speed at which work could be carried out.
“We understand Ms. McDermott is about to move, but there is a national housing crisis and there are thousands on the waiting list for a new property.
“Homes for Haringey will continue to work with Ms. McDermott to resolve her issues as quickly as possible.”