This from the Philadelphia Daily News: Rental Giant Finally Goes After the Bugs.
Denver-based Apartment Investment and Management Co., or AIMCO, is the largest landlord in the US, with 1,370 rental properties. Attorney Jeffrey Rudnick is representing six separate clients who were or are tenants of the building, and say they were blamed (individually) for bringing in bed bugs. The landlord refused to pay for treatment. One tenant, Jessica Viccari, a nurse, complained to management.
The local manager sent up an exterminator who reported finding no evidence of bedbugs.
Unimpressed, Viccari called in her own exterminator who found plenty of bedbugs.
This is where Viccari and Park Towne Place part ways.
She complains that the company refused to pay for the exterminator who found the problem to then get rid of the bedbugs. Frustrated, she moved out. Now AIMCO wants to charge her $2,400 for breaking her lease.
AIMCO wants to charge tenants because the landlord blames them for the infestation. As lawyer Rudnick says,
After Viccari and her family called to tell me her story, I used my investigative skills to size up the situation.
By that, I mean I typed “Park Towne Place” and “bedbugs” into Google.
Up popped information about attorney Jeffrey Rudnick, who represents five other tenants in the West building who also say they suffered through bedbug infestations. They say management blamed them for the bugs. Viccari is now Rudnick’s sixth client from the West building.
“They’ve all gotten the same litany, which is you must have brought them with you,” said Rudnick, who is preparing to file a legal brief to take the tenants’ complaints into arbitration.
Viccari brought furniture from her parent’s home when she moved in. Her mother, Linda McLean, objects to AIMCO’s claim that the bedbugs came in with the tenants. “That bed and that couch were in my home,” McLean said. “There are no bedbugs in my house.”
However, AIMCO regional VP Lynn Bora
. . . said Viccari complained late in the game, just before she moved out. She also said Viccari didn’t give AIMCO a copy of the report from the exterminator who found the bedbugs.
That last bit is curious, considering that Viccari and her mother returned to her apartment last Wednesday to pick up the rest of her stuff and found that someone had been there, overturning the bed and pulling the cushions off the couch.
Viccari found a note from the building manager, saying AIMCO had indeed found bedbugs in the apartment.
The note said Viccari will be charged an extra $350 to pay for a bedbug exterminator.
So let me get this straight: the landlord claims they did not treat because there were no bed bugs. They fine the tenant $2400 for moving out of a $1200 unit because she claims its infested with a bug five other tenants are also suffering from. They refuse to believe she found bedbugs. And as she is moving out, they ransack her apartment, find bed bugs and fine her $350 for the treatment?
Talk about adding insult to injury.