A SYDENHAM woman is a ‘prisoner’ in her own home due to a 16-month-long mice infestation which the housing association has refused to treat.

Ola Bakare and her four children - one of whom has autism - have been living in two rooms of their three bedroom flat because the situation has got so desperate despite repeated visits from pest control.

She said the company described the estate as a ‘mice hotel’ because the rodents are living in the walls and so need to be eliminated from every flat for the problem to go away.

However Affinity Sutton has appeared reluctant to deal with the issue despite opposition from various politicians.

Councillor Tom Papworth said the housing provider has committed a "gross breach of its legal responsibilities" and has written about the situation to all residents of Hurst House in Chulsa Road, Sydenham, where Mrs Bakare lives.

The building also has no lifts so Ms Bakare has to climb the 40 steps with her four children each day despite chronic back pain however it is the mice situation has driven her to desperation.

The 28-year-old who first mentioned the problem to Affinity Sutton more than a year ago, said: "I feel like a prisoner in my own home.

"I’ve never seen anything like this before.

"The mice run past you all the time and I ended up dropping a pot of hot food on the floor which damaged the carpet when a mouse ran past me. I’ve had to set up a camp stove in another room.

"They’ve also run over my partner’s feet when he’s been cooking in the kitchen. I hear shrieks when he’s been in there."

"There have been loads of droppings which I have to get rid of every day and I’m worried about my one-year-old who is starting to pick things up off the floor."

"There have been at least 20 caught by the pest company and now we have sticky traps down but they’re getting smarter and now we just end up with their tails stuck on."

"I’ve been here five years but it’s not my home anymore."

She is particularly concerned for six-year-old son Kwame who has autism.

She said: "He is not coping with it at all and is finding it very constrictive.

"We pay to get rid of the rodents out of our own pocket but the housing provider says we’ll only get rid of the mice if all the tenants get it done and some can’t afford it."

"I’m trying really hard to be strong for my children but I’m finding it very difficult."

As a result she hopes to move across the city to Newham in East London later this year.

Mrs Bakare said: "I’m desperate to stay in Bromley because I’ve lived here all my life but I feel I don’t have any choice."

Housing provider Affinity Sutton claim it is not their responsibility however Councillor Tom Papworth disagrees and has written to tenants saying so.

Cllr Papworth said: "All landlords have a statutory duty to deal with vermin and make sure their tenants live in clean, safe housing.

"For Affinity Sutton to pretend that vermin is the tenant’s responsibility is a gross breach of their legal responsibilities.

"I have had numerous complaints from this one estate, but Affinity Sutton own properties across the borough.

"This is why I am calling for Affinity Sutton’s chief executive and board to investigate these breaches and to commit to dealing with vermin infestation whenever and wherever it is reported."

Cllr Papworth shared with News Shopper a letter which he wrote on May 10 revealing an Affinity Sutton housing officer told him to "go ahead" and serve an enforcement notice. Bromley Council Environmental Health then did so.

A survey from K & O Pest Control company also revealed it had spoken to the housing provider to explain the whole area needs to be treated to get rid of the mice.

And Mrs Bakare shared a letter with News Shopper from Affinity Sutton mentioning mice in Hurst House dated October 2012. 

Head of housing for London at Affinity Sutton Susan Clinton said: "We are not aware of any issues with mice at Hurst House, however, we have recently treated one of our homes in nearby Ripley House for mice. 

"To ensure no further problems arise our pest control contractors are carrying out a survey of the whole estate and we will take action if there are any signs of mice infestation."

The company would not reveal when the work was completed.