A family's council house swap has turned into a flea-ridden nightmare.

The Steele family agreed to switch homes with another family and moved out of their “immaculate” four-bedroom home eight days ago.

But they say their new three-bedroom property in Old Barn Way in Southwick is infested with fleas and riddled with hazards.

They say a radiator is hanging off the wall, the boiler is leaking and the fireplace was broken and had to be taken out.

They have not yet been able to move in properly and are instead sleeping at separate addresses and living out of storage boxes and bin bags.

Mother-of-three Mandi Steele said: “This situation is tearing us apart. I suffer from cataplexy [fainting fits] which is triggered by strong emotions.

“My nine-year-old son Lennon has PTSD, autism and a heart condition.

“He doesn’t want to come inside the hous, and lashed out at me when I dropped him off at school the other day.

“My 21-year-old, Kiall, recently lost his dad and is on the brink of depression.

“On top of everything else, this is a lot to deal with.

“We didn’t notice a lot of these issues when we came to view the house.

“We also trusted the health and safety inspection the council carried out.

“We knew we would have to do a bit of cosmetic work, but you don’t expect someone to leave all of this behind them without saying anything.

“We have tried speaking to our housing officer but she was not empathetic at all.

“She just said it was our decision to move in, we rented it as seen and we have to deal with it.”

Mrs Steele has tried to contact the previous tenant, who she said had four cats, about the issues but said she has had no response.

To date, the Steeles say they have spent more than £300 on flea bombs and professional fumigation.

They have ripped up the carpets from the upstairs bedrooms and the stairs.

Mrs Steele said: “We noticed our dog scratching and lifted up a carpet to see about 20 fleas.

“They were upstairs and downstairs.

“We can no longer afford to take Lennon to his next hospital appointment in London because of this.

“I have had to take a week off work because I work for a food company and it’s a hygiene risk.

“We don’t know when we will be able to properly move in.”

The Argus contacted Adur and Worthing councils for a comment and answers to questions such as how the house passed the health and safety inspection and what would be done to address the situation.

A council spokesman declined to answer our questions but said: “We are speaking directly to the tenant about the issues raised and will work with them to improve the situation.”

Mrs Steele said: “The housing officer said they will repair the radiator and boiler now.

“But she didn’t mention any compensation.”

The family has tried to contact environmental health officers but has so far received no response.