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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Charlotte Lillywhite & Graeme Murray

Residents fuming over 'death house' where 'crickets wake them up at night'

Residents claim they are trapped in a "death house" where crickets wake them up at night.

Elderly tenants in a retirement home insist they have been treated with "utter disdain" by housing provider PA Housing with emails said to be unanswered even though they pay a service charge.

They claim they have had no heating and hot water this month and a leak in the communal lounge's ceiling which left hole still hasn't been repaired.

Residents have criticised the maintenance of Oak House's building and garden which they say has a rotten bench, overgrown bushes and a shed in disrepair.

Maggie Jones, 69, told MyLondon the property in Putney felt "like a death house".

One of the crickets which has been troubling residents in Oak House, Putney (Copyright Unknown)

She said PA Housing had sent pest control to lay down traps for the crickets before and to fumigate utility cupboards last week, but said the entire building needs fumigation.

The problem started a year ago when crickets being fed to a pet tarantula escaped into the piping system and that residents had been "battling with PA" to deal with the problem since.

She said: "I’ve had them on my kitchen work surface, in my bathroom and in my bedroom. [Another resident] was woken up in the middle of the night with them crawling over his face."

Resident Chris Maher, 72, said his flat had recently been infested with crickets for around two weeks "meaning I couldn't sleep".

His neighbour, 70-year-old Beverley Tucker, said they were "horrible" and that she had heard them across the hallway with her door closed.

PA Housing said pest control revisited the building on October 24 and is working to get into each flat to ensure the crickets are eradicated.

It added that a contractor is visiting on October 28 to repair the ceiling and that the garden's shed and benches were being removed.

But residents said the housing firm hadn't updated them about the issues.

They said there had been a drop in standards since the complex moved from sheltered housing to independent living following a review in 2014, adding that a housing officer now comes once instead of five times a week.

Maggie Jones by a bench in the garden at Oak House in Putney (Copyright Unknown)

Ms Jones, who pays £800 a month for her one-bed flat, said: "When it comes to actually looking after us and responding to us, they treat us with utter disdain... they don’t answer emails."

She added: "Not once have they sent us an email reassuring us about the cost of living and what they’re doing to help us. We haven’t heard anything."

Maria Frawley, assistant director of property services and repairs at PA Housing, said: “We are really sorry that customers living in our independent living scheme, Oak House, have reported that they are unhappy about the service they’ve recently received.

"We arranged for a specialist pest control contractor to revisit the building [on October 24] to carry out another treatment, following a further report of a cricket found in the hallway.

"While our contractor found minimal traces of crickets in the communal areas, as part of their follow-up visit next week, we are working with residents to gain access to each flat so we can ensure the issue is completely eradicated."

She added: "Our grounds maintenance team are scheduled to visit every fortnight and, following their last visit, raised concerns that they had not been able to access some of the surrounding bushes or shed.

"Ahead of their next visit, we will be liaising with residents to ensure there are no vehicles or belongings restricting the contractor from carrying out the scheduled works.

"In addition, our contractor is scheduled to visit this Friday to carry out remedial works to the communal ceiling following a leak from the flat above.

"While we are working to resolve any outstanding repairs as quickly as possible, our team will be contacting residents at Oak House directly to discuss any further queries they may have.”

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