This article from the Hounslow Chronicle (in London) on Tuesday reports that some UK housing authorities are no longer paying for tenants’ bed bug treatment, due to the rise in cases.
It tells the story of Claire Prince, 24. She and her four children are sleeping on floors, air mattresses, and in a stroller, since their beds were discarded due to bed bugs.
Sadly, what’s coming between the family and a good night’s sleep is bed bug treatment. And the cost isn’t terribly high, by other regions’ pest control standards:
David [Cain of Bed-bugs.co.uk], who claims west London hotspots for bed bugs include neighbouring Twickenham (TW1), said the problem can only be fixed by professionals but many housing authorities are removing responsibility from tenancy agreements following the rise in cases.
In Claire’s case it would cost her £130 to have two rooms in her home treated by Hounslow Council pest control contractors. Hounslow Homes claim it is the tenants’ responsibility to eradicate the pests. But as a single mum, Prince says this is a cost she simply can’t afford.
I can understand why housing authorities might feel the pinch. Landlords, where required to pay for bed bug treatment, do too.
Unfortunately, if a family cannot get prompt and high quality bed bug treatment, they won’t get rid of their bed bugs. This puts their neighbors — and others who are in contact with the family at work or school or on public transit — at risk of getting the problem too.
Everyone needs treatment for bed bugs, regardless of ability to pay. Governments need to find a solution for this. “Each person for him or herself” does not work, because bed bugs can spread easily to others.
As long as someone in your community has a bed bug problem, so do you.