Ramsgate towerblock residents’ frustration as bedbug ‘plague’ remains untreated

Trove Court resident George Wilson says he has had enough

Residents in at least ten flats in a Ramsgate towerblock are still waiting for a full bedbug treatment to be carried out despite East Kent Housing having funding in place for weeks.

Desperate Trove Court resident George Wilson says he has paid for treatments but still ends up ‘getting eaten alive’ because the bugs can’t be eradicated unless the entire block is done.

The 57-year-old former chef has lived at block for three years and says the bed bugs have been a continual problem.

He said: “The place is riddled with them. I was homeless before I moved in and feel like I would have been better off staying in the tent.

“I complained the first year and joined the residents’ group last year who brought it up with the council.

“My leg is red raw because you are just scratching until you bleed and there is one woman who has got big lumps on her skin.

“I have had enough and I know there are at least ten flats affected. No-one is doing anything to help.”

It is understood funding for the full block treatment has been in place for a considerable time as part of the overall yearly maintenance budget.

Deputy leader at Thanet council, Helen Whitehead, has been in contact with residents and says work is taking place to get the issue resolved. She has been carrying out a systematic inspection of the blocks alongside a tenant representative.

She said: “I have been contacted by and am working with several residents to try and get ongoing issues resolved as soon as possible. Our residents deserve safe, secure and well maintained housing, and this is an ongoing issue that needs remedy now as our residents are suffering.

“We will continue to work with East Kent Housing to support them in whatever way is needed, and I am available to any resident who needs support. It is our duty and our privilege to support our tenants and TDC are committed to ensuring that residents receive the level of care that they are entitled to.”

Trove Court and Kennedy House

The block is currently under the care of East Kent Housing, which manages properties for Thanet, Dover, Folkestone and Canterbury councils. That arrangement is due to end by October following a series of health and safety failings discovered at some of the properties that EKH was managing for the councils.

Staff at East Kent Housing and the services it provides are set to transfer to the four councils that own it at close of play on September 30 this year. This means Thanet’s housing will then be managed by the council rather than an external company.

A spokesman for East Kent Housing said contractors have been appointed to carry out the work but a date has not yet been set.

He said: “Contractors have been engaged and will be working with EKH colleagues and residents to establish a full management plan being put in place along with complete treatments.

“As we are making arrangements with contractors and residents, no date has yet been made. However, as soon as a date has been agreed, residents will be notified when the treatment will be taking place.”


  1. Trove court is not the only tower block that is infected with bed bugs Staner Court has been overrun for many many years with the same problem they’re in plug sockets and behind the external walls even seen them in the stairwells. When I visit family I carry a small bed bug spray with me and spray my shoes and clothing when I leave East Kent housing have known this has been going on for many years and I’ve done nothing to eliminate the problem as long as they get your rent they don’t care what people are suffering in these tower blocks. I’ve even raised it with my local MP

    • I know of 2 property’s that are plagued with these creatures. It’s problem iv heard ppl saying. Once a conversation is started. Going to each others propdrtys don’t help. You shouldn’t visit ppl who have these. It’s like covid. Spread easily. You will need brand new furniture. Bed curtains flooring. TDC. Should think about that.

  2. Is disgusting how residents have to tolerate being overrun with bedbugs East Kent housing and Thanet District Council know about this problem within these blocks and they do nothing many of the tower blocks are suffering the same infestation of the blood sucking creatures but as long as they don’t have the live here they don’t care are about their tenants or out there suffering

  3. Most of the tower blocks are infested East Kent housing staff should not be transferred to Thanet District Council because a lot of the east Kent housing staff do not take into account their tenants needs every complaint you put in is not followed up the tower blocks have been over run with bed bugs for many years. Thanet council Taking Back the responsibility of their housing stock but they are still employing East Kent housing staff so all the problems with the housing will just carry on because it’s the same old people running it

  4. East Kent housing employers should not be transferred back to Thanet District Council they have let their tenants down and do not act on anything that is said to them most power tower blocks have been overrun for many years with bed bugs and I have never taken any action against preventing it there’s urine an extra moment in stairwells this bit all over the lift buttons East Kent housing a failed Thanet district council tenants so why should they be transferred back to Thanet District Council East Kent housing employers are unfit for purpose

  5. It’s disgusting how people are supposed to live like this blood sucking creatures East Kent housing have known about this infestation for many years and have done nothing and most of them are going to be transferred back to Thanet District Council to work there in confident of running the housing stock

  6. This is very unfair on all the residents, this is not going to be a quick and easy task, if they are in plug sockets.

    Anyone who lives there, will also be transferring them to other places they visit, cafes, homes, taxis, buses, trains.

  7. This is disgusting that people have to tolerate this most tower blocks are infested but this brave man was the one that come forward East Kent housing have known about this in their tower blocks for many many years and have not acted on any emails that they’ve received they’re even climbing walls in the main hallways one tenant there collected 10 of them in a jar and showed East Kent housing

  8. No point blaming East Kent Housing any more. They are now managed directly by the local Councils so Thanet Council should rightly be blamed for these service failures.

    Of course, TDC have been used to blaming all their problems on East Kent Housing over the years so they are a bit out of practice in being accountable and ditching the slippery shoulders.

    • 99% of staff at East Kent housing will be transferred to Thanet District Council for work so they are still responsible for their actions most of the staff at East Kent housing will still be run by Thanet District Council

      • It’s the easiest way of preventing the staff telling the truth about the chaos the various councils caused, all very well having centralised management and procurement but when each council wants a bespoke service for minimal cost its always going to go wrong. Be interesting to know what the whole fiasco has/will cost.

    • The service comes back in house at the beginning of October. Currently our stock is still managed by EKH, and we are doing all we can to address the issues raised. As portfolio holder I am and will continue to work alongside tenant representatives to look at the issues in each block.

      • Councillor, you need to check who is on the managing board of East Kent Housing. Your Chief Executive and the other Chief Executives of East Kent. This has been the case for many months.

        As a board member, your Chief Executive is responsible and accountable for managing and governing East Kent Housing at the moment. The October date is when the staff transfer. Issues like this are now happening on your watch whether or not you want that to be the case.

        See what I mean about the habit of having slopey shoulders? It’s a difficult habit to break.

        • Well said and spot on everything you say is correct they are responsible and it falls on their shoulders to accept responsibility. Thanet District Council taking back their housing stock but still employing East Kent housing staff so nothing is going to change tenants are still going to be let down East Kent housing will still ignore them and it will just be a vicious circle

      • Yet, TDC own 25% of East Kent Housing and have systematically starved it of money to do works required. Are tou also involved in the duplicitous double dealings revolving around Legion House , the cosy deals with Paramount, convenient decision to ignore works carried out with no planning permission or listed building consent, and amazingly enough the works done have nothing to do with the original planning application but were for an application submitted retrospectively, impossible for this to have been done without TDC’s collusion and yet absolutely no consultation with local residents , who’ve been plagued by drug related ASB for years from the building next door which again TDC chose to do nothing about until the fire bomb incident. But again no listed building consent applied for and no action by TDC. The buildings and heritage are one of margates assets and TDC have created a conservation area , yet all this is abandoned for a pet project. Plenty of empty buildings in the upper high street that would be far more suitable and disrupt far fewer residents lives.

      • The bedbug situation began at a hotel in Cliftonville when it was working with TDC to home homeless people until TDC could find them a more permanent home, some in the tower blocks, some in privately rented accommodation in Cliftonville West where the bed bug problem has continued to multiply from flat to flat and bedsit to bedsit. It has been years in the making and if TDC/EKH had acted quickly enough this pest problem could have been halted earlier, now half the area has problems with bedbugs because tenants move from home to home taking bugs with them unsuspectingly. They are immensely difficult to eradicate and I know of dozens of people living in the are who have these bugs and have paid for eradication, had the treatment but it hasn’t worked. They have paid out hundreds of £££ pounds for treatments that do not work. Either the stuff is not strong enough or they are not being efficient enough. Some promise to come back and treat again after a few weeks but never return.
        The only way to eradicate these blighters is if anyone who has them gets free treatment until gone for good. This area is inhabited by many who cannot afford to keep paying out for treatments they know do not work because others cannot afford it so don’t have it done. There should be a way tenants can get this sorted without it breaking the bank of what little money they have to live on. TDC need to find funding to do this for everyone who needs it. Maybe they should not put homeless in the care of hotels who do not take any notice of complaints from guests in future.

      • Councillor Helen Whitehead it really doesn’t matter that Thanet District Council will take back there properties in October because East Kent housing will still be employed by them just transferring staff. the problem is East Kent housing do not respect Thanet District Council tenants do not listen to their tenants that is why these tower blocks are overrun with bed bugs I can remember when Thanet District Council took action and paid for the cleaning of tenants properties paid once but you got three visits to eradicate the problem. The problem is overpaid staff bickering that’s going on between staff. Most of them are sitting at home and not even reading any emails that they received just recently saw two members of East Kent housing sitting on the beach together. When I bet they we’re meant to be working from home

      • A more positive response would have been along the lines of ” We’re sending Rentokill (other contractors are available) on Monday morning (etc) …”

      • When a tenant moves into a property, where there is already an existing problem/infestation, it is the responsibility of the landlord to correct that problem ASAP.

        TDC, FAILED

        Helen Whitehead, FAILED.

  9. This is an absolutely terrible situation to be in. The longer it is left, the worse it will get.

    How will this problem ever be resolved?
    Residents will be taking the bugs (unknowingly), to their cars, causing more infestations, then transferring back inside, or to other properties they visit.

    These things don’t just live in/on beds, they get under flooring, light sockets, clothes in wardrobes, anywhere there is a little crack, or crease in furniture or bedding. They also like to nest underneath fridge/freezers, where they cling on near the motor, because it is nice and warm.

    EKH/TDC need to be giving urgent advice, if they are not prepared to do anything. It’s unlikely that this will ever be cured.

  10. There Is only one outcome for this nasty situation and that’s to evacuate all tower blocks tannents fumigate every flat from inside out every single property hallways stairways and even lifts. and then ask tenants if they want to return. I feel sorry for these tenants that are suffering this let down and being bitten daily by these bloodthirsty creatures it’s bad enough that they have to keep buying new furniture when all the time they’re just throwing their money away because the problem is not being resolved.

    • That’s the only option I can see really, evacuate the whole building, but this would need to be sprayed several times, over several weeks/months, and/or heat treatment.

      However, some people would have already infected their cars (without knowing), and also friends and relatives houses, these would easily be transferred back to the building. This is going to be a long term problem, and the longer Whitehead waits around, the worse the problem will become.

  11. You need to evacuate all tenants to eradicate this problem. It is despicable that it has been left and that people are expected to live with this kind of INFESTATION. Cllr Helen Whitehead and leader of TDC Rick Everitt this is totally unacceptable and violates their rights to live in a safe and clean environment as it is a health hazard They need to be moved out to alternative accommodation NOW!

  12. Tdc and ekh wont rush to sort this or any other problem because as soon as they get or have the funds to cover it, they will use the money either for something else or hold it to gain interest on it so they can pay themselves more money each year! They are a business at the end of the day and like all that, work within the government departments, its all about them!
    You would stand a better chance sending them an email telling them that you have costed up for the removal yourself including cost of new furniture and accommodation while fuming (not taking the piss! Like for like and basic accommodation) and tell them that you will be taking it from the rent as its a health risk of which they’ve had plenty of time to render and haven’t, which I believe comes under malpractice!!

    • I like your comment this is the way to go. Most of the councillors should stand down not fit to sit at any council meeting because like you say it’s about there big pay cheque. It’s like anything I’m ok Jack sod you

  13. You’ll never eradicate them , only needs one tenant to not do their part in respect of washing clothes, linen etc , be a bit lax with the cleaning regime and there’ll be a resurgence. Odd how in the past such infestations were extremely rare but now are common place, a change in social attitudes and behaviour can be the only answer.

    • Local Chap,
      I think you are exactly right, I cannot see how this problem is ever going to be resolved, there are too many properties involved. TDC have left it too long.

  14. ‘Deeds not Words’ are required Deputy leader of Thanet council, Helen Whitehead.

    This has been a problem you have been aware of for a very long time.

    Stop with the Hyperbole!

  15. If I’m not mistaken, tdc get involved when a private or estate agent property does meet the required standards and force property owners to get the issue sorted!
    Also I believe that tdc and ekh have a duty of care they are bound too, for there tenants! Surely to have got to a condition that a lot of there properties are in now they haven’t held up there duty of care nor have they stuck to there own rules on property conditions! Surely is a matter that can be taken up in front of a judge who can put in place an order to make tdc/ekh get the work done!! The next biggest issue is going to be when they get there work force in who charge high prices but do a cowboy job and always cut every corner!

    • AS part owners of east kent housing tdc are in the comfortable position of not being able to prosecute as it’d be a case of taking themselves to court. So short of a private prosecution by an individual or other body (whcih would be expensive and likely achieve little ( don’t forget that grenfell failed to comply with fire safety regs from the day it was built, yet nothing was ever done)).
      So they can carry on as they want.

  16. Bugs without borders. All tenants/owners need to know how to avoid, control and extinguish the bed bug problem. People from infested homes are inadvertently taking these creatures with them wherever they go. Our hospitals and hospices are no exception. Patients from infected homes bring the bugs with them. This problem has been with us for years, including cock roaches. Apart from the horrible discomfort of living with these parasites, they spread bacteria too. As yet it has not been proven that they could be a vector for Covid-19. I agree with many of the comments on this thread. This problem needs sorting now! No officer or Councillor would accept this in their on homes. A task force must be set up now and action the fumigation processes and any compensation necessary for residents. The Council already has a recommended company who is very good. This would be an excellent re-employment scheme too. Public Health is a priority. TDC must act now! (before it goes bankrupt!)

    • This is an interesting article as EKH leaseholders dept have told me that EKH has carried out extensive reports and found that the BB are coming from one flat only. The BB are definitely not in the hallways as they are concrete floors. The one flat had a recent course of 3 treatments and just last week further treatment and a Deep steam clean. The article and responses speak of 10 affected flats which aren’t being treated and BB being found in the hallways. Why does EKH have to lie about this. Why, if the funds are in place don’t they cleanse the building?

      • Bedbug were collected from a stairwell in Staner Court the person that collected them in a jar also found some down in the lobby area on the concrete walls. Also around the outside of people’s door frames so that tells me they’ve gone from property to property So that just shows that these people have been dragging there mattresses furniture that infested with bed bugs out of their main doors down through the stairwells out the main entrance and the bed bugs just dropping off their items. From there the bed bugs travel to front doors through the door into another property. There is not a week that goes past where you don’t visit family at Staner court where where there are mattresses laying out the front by the bins. The bed bugs that were collected in the Jar was shown to housing officers and told where they were collected from. So yes bed bugs do go on concrete and they do go in Commercial areas from items that are dragged through.

  17. The increase in bed bugs since the 90s is huge. Pesticides such as ddt were banned & they can go undetected for some time. Its not an easy fix & will keep happening. People need to change. Bedbugs are brought into buildings by people who are unaware of what precautions they should be taking. Good luck.

  18. This is awful. People shouldn’t have to live in conditions with bedbugs and I really hope it gets dealt with. To any of those suffering, I’d like to say that in the interim, a really good remedy for bedbugs is diatomaceous earth. It’s a fine powder that gets rid of the bugs, and is not harmful to pets or humans. It’s not a poison, so the bugs don’t ebcome immune to it after a while. I used it when I lived abroad and there were problems with cockroaches and bedbugs in my building. Last time I looked, you could buy large tubs of it online. A little goes a long way – a group tenants could club together and share maybe.

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