The tenant of a public housing unit on Northbourne Avenue has accused the ACT Government of abandoning him in his fight against bedbugs which have allegedly infested his apartment.
The accusation comes from a tenant who has placed a large sign in his window facing Northbourne Avenue which reads: “Bedbugs: Abandoned by ACT Housing”.
ACT Housing and Community Services executive director David Collett said the Community Services Directorate was aware of the accusation and the tenant had contacted authorities regarding the situation.
Mr Collett said the tenant contacted the cleaning company Spotless, who manage the maintenance of the flats, and said “there was possibly a dead possum in his roof cavity which he alleged was causing ‘bugs’ to bite him”.
Mr Collett said a pest controller was sent to the property on the same day as the complaint, although no source of infestation was found.
“The pest controller could not find a dead possum and nor could they detect any smell in the area,” he said.
“As a precaution, the pest controller treated the area."
But Mr Collett said the tenant continued to complain about bedbugs and the pest controller was again sent to the property, although no source of infestation was found.
“There are no recorded reports of any insect infestation at Northbourne Flats," he said.
But in June, a long-term resident of the Northbourne Flats in Turner said ongoing maintenance issues with his heating and trouble with rats, possums, rubbish and raw sewage were weighing heavily on his mental health.
Phil Brown, who has called the flats home for seven years, called on the ACT Government to reach a decision on the future of the estate and to stop treating tenants like "second-class citizens".
The notorious flats are under the spotlight as the government looks to redevelop Northbourne Avenue to allow the light-rail line to pass from Gungahlin through to the city.
While Mr Brown said his issues with heating had been resolved by authorities, he believes the flats have slidden in government’s priorities given proposed plans to install the light-rail network.
"These flats mate; they’ve just let them go because they know that redevelopment is coming up and there is no point in keeping up with the maintenance in the meantime," he said.
But then-Housing Minister Shane Rattenbury said any maintenance issues at the flats had nothing to do with proposed developments on Northbourne Avenue and the wellbeing of tenants was of “the upmost importance".
"The maintenance and upkeep of Northbourne flats has not been affected by any proposed redevelopments, and tenants there are provided with the same level of service that is provided to all public housing tenants,” he said.