St Albans MP join's couple's council home fight

PUBLISHED: 18:55 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:53 06 May 2010

Mark Burgess, Laura Murray and family

Mark Burgess, Laura Murray and family

MP Anne Main has stepped in to help a young couple battling to get a council home fit to live in. Mark Burgess and his partner Laura Murray, who have four children between them, were so delighted at the rare offer of a three-bedroom council home that they

MP Anne Main has stepped in to help a young couple battling to get a council home fit to live in.

Mark Burgess and his partner Laura Murray, who have four children between them, were so delighted at the rare offer of a three-bedroom council home that they snapped it up straight away.

But that was before they discovered that it was infested by fleas and ratholes were in evidence.

They moved from a two-bedroom flat in Colney Heath to the house in Radlett Road, Frogmore, on December 12, but St Albans council officers switched them into temporary accommodation in the wake of the discovery of the state of the house..

They were subsequently told on several occasions that the Radlett Road house was flea-free and if they did not move back in, they would lose it.

But county council maintenance worker Mark Burgess, 25, said: "The fleas are still there despite three fumigations and I lifted a floorboard to find a thick lining of cat fur underneath which probably doesn't help.

"It still stinks though we cleaned it as thoroughly as we could."

Mrs Main has now intervened and said it was totally unreasonable to expect the couple to move themselves and their four-month old baby back into a place which was still infested with fleas.

She has written to the council's chief executive Daniel Goodwin and leader of the council Robert Donald to seek assurances from them that the couple can stay put until all the fleas are gone.

Mrs Main said: "I want it put in writing so that officers stop pestering the couple to vacate the flat they are in. Also, I would like the question of housing officers' rudeness addressed.

"People are always complaining to me that they are being spoken to disrespectfully and this couple say they are upset at how they are being treated."

Linda Middleton, the council's strategy and enabling manager, said: "The tenant and her family will be able to stay in temporary accommodation until the council is advised by its pest control expert that the problem of fleas at the property in Radlett Road is resolved and they can return.

"Officers have been working to resolve the situation and we are planning to investigate whether repeated fumigations of the property have been successful."

There was no comment from the council about the allegation of rudeness.


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