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lighty
15-01-2011, 10:51 AM
Please please can someone help me! We live in the GF flat of converted house. We have problems with our upstairs neighbours. We have lived here for 2 years and they were here before us. about a year ago another daughter moved in with her cat. Since she did we have had a flea problem and disgusting smell in the communal hallway. The smell came first and it became stronger in the summer. I found the cat in the hallway a couple of times and moaned to the letting agent on about 3 occasions saying the cat shouldnt be allowed in the hallway.

Anyway I have to control the smell with air fresheners and make sure it is clean. Its not even my poxy animal!

The worst part now is that since the summer I started to get bitten. I assumed it was gnat or mozzie bites and the biting stopped for a short while but realised when it started again around oct it must be something else.

I went to my doc and had it confirmed they were flea bites. I told the letting agent and they spoke to upstairs who said the cat had fleas in the summer.

The letting agent arrange for betapest to come in and spray which they did and we had to not hoover for 3 wks.

We did this and I was still getting bitten. They sprayed again and still got bitten.

My 21 month old son has now started to be bitten and that is the last straw for me. I have been in tears and getting me quite depressed as I cannot stand it, waking up all the time covered.

I have actually seen a flea on me a couple of times and one on my sons neck. Its awful having to live like this because of someone elses animal. We dont have any and now the letting agents are trying to tell me that we dont have any evidence it came from the cat and we may have trod them in from our garden.

I mean, come on, if the cat had fleas and they admitted it the likelyhood is the fleas came from the cat.

Betapest explained that the fleas would have laid eggs and when central heating was out on they hatch and breed etc etc

The idiots upstairs and the LA dont seem to get this and keep saying the cat hasnt got fleas now and that they treat it.

I am at my wits end as to what to do, I douse myself and little boy in citronella, have put salt down and researched the internet! like I have nothing better to do!

Its getting to the point where me and my bfriend argue as it is affecting me that much, he doesnt get bitten but is totally fed up with it too.

Its disgusting thinking they are around and my little boy is now suffering and it shouldnt be my problem!

The LA have now said they have spoken to the Landlord and he is refusing to pay out for more treatment and said it is now down to us if we want to treat it. I cant afford to keep doing that and have looked into spraying myself but betapest said that isnt going to work as nothings stronger than the chemicals they use.

I just want rid of them but also want to know where I stand. Its got to the point where I am actually thinking of moving but again not in the position to do that at the moment and do love where we live.

Please can anyone give me advice

LesleyAnne
15-01-2011, 12:19 PM
If the flea infestation is that bad, tell your LL and/or Letting Agent, preferably in writing, that if they do not address the situation, you will seek advice from the local Environmental Health Officer at the Council. Give them a deadline by which to respond - say 14 days. You may also want to approach your dr for proof that the bites are from fleas, to back up your story.

Do you know if the tenancy agreement permits pets? I assume if you and the other tenant have the same LL, the properties are let on the same terms. I know it would be hard on the other Ts daughter to make her get rid of the cat, but if its not permitted, you could also remind your LL of this.

In the meantime, although the cat may have caused the initial infesation, you seem to have a vicious circle running, ie fleas lay eggs, flea threatment kills fleas, eggs are unaffected and hatch, fleas lay eggs and so on. Eggs can lay dormant until the temperatures trigger hatching, so the pest treatment may not have been enough to kill them all. For a short term solution, buy a couple of cat flea collars from a pet shop - they are usual not expensive, and drop them in your hoover bag/container. Hoover as often as you can, getting along edges of carpets and in nooks and crannies, and all the fleas hoovered up will be killed by the chemicals inside the machine. This way you don't need to put any chemicals down where your son can come into contact with them.

westminster
15-01-2011, 12:51 PM
A flea infestation caused by a neighbour's cat is not your landlord's responsibility. At best, he could ask the freeholder of the block to take action against the neighbouring leaseholder for causing a nuisance. Either try to resolve the matter directly with your neighbour (there are collars and medication for cats which stop fleas breeding), or contact the council (not sure whether it would be Pest Control or EHO).

LesleyAnne
15-01-2011, 13:26 PM
When I replied, I was assuming that the OP had the same LL as the T upstairs. If this is not the case, then I agree OP's LL is not responsible for sorting the flea problem.

An approach to EHO for advice might still be worthwhile.

Interlaken
15-01-2011, 13:27 PM
Mmmm child versus cat - well I know which side I'm on.

This seems to be a lot of fleas from 1 cat - other animals do carry them you know. Could be the cat got fleas from long term infestation in the hall carpets.
Lesley Anne is right fleas and eggs live not only in the carpet but gaps in skirtings, around doors etc. Go online to a pet supplier like Bestpet.com and buy a carpet spray. The ones that cost around £15 are very effective long term. Spray edges of carpets and and cracks round doors as aforementioned.

I find fleas are attracted to the colour navy blue so if a person wearing jeans walks into a hallway with a bad infestation the fleas often jump onto the fabric. Try dragging a piece of navy fabric across the carpet and see what happens. You may not have as bad an infestation as you think.
The best treatment for the cat is Frontline - cheapest in 'spot on form' at Asda Pharmacy. Cats do 'spray' urine as a territorial marker and this may the unpleasant smell you mention. Unfortunate I know.
I write this as an adopter of rescue cats for the past 35 years. I take the Jeremy Clarkson view on children - lead lined box in boot of car.

westminster
15-01-2011, 14:06 PM
When I replied, I was assuming that the OP had the same LL as the T upstairs. If this is not the case, then I agree OP's LL is not responsible for sorting the flea problem.
Even if the neighbour upstairs is a short-term tenant, with the same LL as OP, LL is still not responsible to OP for the nuisance/infestation caused by upstairs T.

See http://blog.painsmith.co.uk/2010/09/19/bed-bugs-and-landlords-liability/

However, the freeholder of the block might be able to hold the leaseholder of the upstairs flat liable if the lease prohibits nuisance, pets etc (other leaseholders might complain to FH).

Brenda
15-01-2011, 17:19 PM
I know it sounds like a long shot but are you absolutely sure that it is fleas & not bed bugs?

You say you wake up covered in bites, fleas don't just bite at night time. Maybe it is not the carpet that needs to be treated but the bed and upholstery & this could be why the treatment has not worked?

Just a thought.

Interlaken
15-01-2011, 17:44 PM
That did cross my mind too. I don't think I have ever seen a bed bug. Fleas are only 1mm long.

Brenda
15-01-2011, 17:54 PM
Well i am just thinking that the fact OP saw a flea may not necessarily mean that it is fleas doing the biting. I think i would be more inclined to take the bed apart and check the matress thoroughly.

tigershoot
15-01-2011, 17:58 PM
Bed bugs are much bigger than fleas.

Brenda
16-01-2011, 09:05 AM
Adult bed bugs might be, but remember they form colonies of smaller juvaniles & adults of various sizes and stages much the same way Cockroaches do.