Stroke survivor left sleeping in armchair after mattress bug outbreak at Ramsgate retirement block


Elderly and vulnerable residents of retirement homes in Thanet say their landlord left them alone to deal with a bed bug infestation.

Those who live at Mentmore House in Ramsgate, a 35-story retirement home, claim that their management company, Orbit, left them to fight the pests and they just can’t afford to get rid of them.

Steve Parmiter, 61, told KentLive that the pain, stress and fear of living in Mentmore had become too much to cope with.

The resident, who referred to his accommodation as a “bedroom”, said, “Apparently one of the tenants had bed bugs nine months ago and Orbit came in and sprayed and cleaned and did everything, but no one was told they had the bugs.”

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“Now, about six weeks ago, another lady had people come and they threw 65 bags and things out of their place because it was infested, but they didn’t want to tell us what happened.”

The infestation, Steve claims, then spread to his room. Because of this, Steve added, his bites were so bad that he had to be hospitalized.

On his trip, the stroke survivor feared that something was seriously wrong – only to later find out that the mistakes were the real cause.

As a landlord, Orbit isn’t legally required to clean bed bugs for individual properties if the renter brought them themselves, but Steve and his roommates claim the infestation was part of an ongoing and building-wide problem that couldn’t be resolved by individual renters.

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He said, “People come to spray individual apartments and we pay for it, but they tell us there is a good chance they will come back.

“They don’t spray the public areas or the roof or the attic or anything – so it’s like a vicious circle.

“Poor lady here, she spent over £ 700 on her apartment fixing it up.”

Sleep on an armchair

Steve was forced to sleep in the armchair [left] in his tiny apartment after his bed was ruined by the infestation.

Steve was forced to sleep in the armchair [left] in his tiny apartment after his bed was ruined by the infestation.

Residents, many of whom are old and vulnerable, say it just isn’t the money for fumigation.

Steve, although one of the younger tenants at 61, has had a stroke and is currently unable to lie flat due to a brain tumor that has partially disabled him.

He bought a hospital bed with an adjustable support so that he could sleep comfortably without endangering his health, which cost him £ 800.

However, the bed was ruined by the bedbugs, which meant that not only did he have to pay to clean his bed, but he was also sleepless, falling back to an armchair that he had been in for the past fourteen days.

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Many of the residents, Steve said, were unable to be fully self-sufficient or suffered from medical problems that made it impossible for them to live independently.

The sheltered shelter offered at Mentmore is a compromise between freedom and support, but Steve claims the latter was lacking.

He said that much more frail than him are finding the situation increasingly demoralizing, adding, “It was honestly a godsend when they put me in [Mentmore] – and everyone is saying the same thing, it was fantastic to have moved to a place like this.

“I’m in my 60s, I haven’t seen much of life, but people here who are 85 and older say, ‘My God, I wish God would take me today because I don’t want to live like this’ . “

The tenants not only have to pay for cleaning their apartments, but also have to find accommodation during the fumigation.

“I went and stayed in a hotel for one night,” he said.

“It was only 40 pounds, but Orbit refused to pay.

“Another afflicted lady had to sit in the lobby for five hours while she sprayed her apartment – they won’t put us anywhere, not even for one night.

“It’s like kicking your step at this time of life; it’s shocking.”

KentLive contacted Orbit to comment on the bed bug infestation and failure to help its tenants, but the company made no response.