Thursday, November 10, 2011

Renter Horror Story 2: Bed Bugs Ignored For Three Months

From Chelsea in Syracuse, N.Y.:

When we toured the apartment, we were taken to a very clean, nice part of the complex. We were assured all the apartments were exactly identical, and were shown a stunning two-bedroom with marble countertops and stainless steel appliances. (We were hoping to rent a one-bedroom, but they assured us they were identical, minus the extra room.) Move in day came and we were given our keys. Our building was not the one we had seen, but around a large loop. This area of the complex was dirty, the buildings were older and the grounds unkempt. The front door of the building was falling off. When we went into our new apartment, we were welcomed by gray stained rugs, broken bedroom and closet doors, an air conditioner that leaked in doors, and cracked countertops that were not marble.

After constant calls to the property manager to have the dishwasher and air conditioner fixed, they are both still broken—eight months later.

A couple of months after moving in, we noticed mattresses being thrown out all over the complex, especially at our cluster of three buildings. Then we started getting bitten. After a few panic calls the property manager assured me there were NO bed bugs on the property. It turns out, EVERY BUILDING in the complex is infested. There is an exterminator ON CALL with the property manager who said he has come to our building and the one next door so often that he has lost count. He said he even pulled HANDFULS of bed bugs out from a man’s couch in the building next to us.

The landlord refused to pay for the extermination, and told us if we refused to pay the $1,400, we would be evicted. Livid, my boyfriend and I called the health department (who said they could not help us) and the town code enforcer, who, as it turns out, was friends with the landlord. The property manager’s husband, who is head of maintenance, got into a verbal altercation with my boyfriend, calling him a liar because the exterminator only found one bug in our place.

We had bed bugs for three months. I had over 100 bites on my right arm alone, and am scarred over a large portion of my body—it looks like I had chicken pox! I’ve even woken up in the middle of the night, pulling bed bugs off me with their suckers in my skin!

We were given the option of a $100 spraying of the apartment, which I only had half of after I began seeing the bugs crawling on the carpet only days after the place was sprayed. We finally rid the place of bugs by purchasing diatomaceous earth and covering out entire floor plan with it. The landlord threatened to evict us twice: Once for not paying for a heat treatment, and once for telling other tenants to call the town if they notice any bed bugs.

All maintenance calls since this ordeal, have been ignored. The front door is still hanging off the hinges. Mattresses and couches are piling up by the dumpster.

And, to top it all off, the property manager’s husband, whom my boyfriend argued with, recently smashed into my boyfriend’s car, leaving a large dent in the front bumper. Then he left.

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