Families are living “on the edge of their nerves” in a council housing block infested with mice.
Nests, droppings and dead mice are regularly found on the estate of 50 flats in Tyrell Way, West Hendon, and tenants there say they problem is getting worse.
Residents had been told by Barnet Homes that it does not deal with individual cases of mice infestation, but the management company has now promised to look again at the problem after residents gathered a petition and enlisted the help of their local MP.
Pensioner Shirley Pearl has lived on the estate for 40 years and, after finding droppings on her carpet over the past two months, was shocked to discover a nest of 16 mice living in her sofa.
She said: “I’m living on the edge of my nerves here – I can’t relax. I was sat in my living room the other day when one went scampering across the sofa I was on. I nearly had a heart attack.
“They need to do something outside to stop them getting in. I can’t live here at the moment.”
Mrs Pearl, who has moved to her daughter’s home in Edgware because of the problem, has contacted pest control almost half a dozen times but says she is not being taken seriously.
She said: “One council officer told me to get a cat – it made me very cross.”
Around 50 people living in the council-owned block of flats have signed the petition calling on Barnet Homes to undertake some form of pest control.
Mariam Daud, 33, who lives in her flat with her three young children, said: “I’ve found droppings in our food cupboards, teeth marks on the door frames and I hear them nibbling at night.
“It’s so unhygienic and it plays on your mind – you can’t get a saucepan out without knowing if a mouse has crawled in it.
“It’s disgusting – you think twice when you eat anything and you can’t relax in your own home. I don’t like being in the house on my own, you can feel them in here with you.”
Barnet Homes previously dealt with a major rat problem on the estate, which is due to be demolished in 2017 as part of a major regeneration scheme.
Conservative politician Matthew Offord visited residents on the estate last week and says he plans to write to Barnet Homes and demand they undertake various methods of pest control.
He said: “While people still live here, they need to live in habitable conditions. The people that have been left here seem to have been forgotten and it is unacceptable.
“They’re being left to live in conditions that affect their health and, while I welcome the regeneration project, I don’t want to see people suffering in the meantime.”
A Barnet Homes spokesperson said in a statement: “Our policy on mice is that, if there is a one-off occurrence that affects an individual resident, we will offer advice but it is the responsibility of the resident to tackle the problem.
“We have not been aware of multiple property infestation of mice on the estate before receipt of the Tyrell Way petition and we are very concerned to hear of the reports regarding Mrs Pearl’s situation.
“Where there is a mouse problem that affects a significant number of properties within a block of flats, Barnet Homes would take this up as a multiple property issue (as is now the case at Tyrell Way) and begin an investigation immediately, often resulting in a block treatment programme and work to prevent mice entering the block.
“We will also try to co-ordinate efforts with Barnet Council’s Environmental Health team and the regeneration scheme developers, to attempt to manage the issue more widely going forward.”