BB Saga, non-compliant neighbor(4 posts)
Here is a bit of my BB saga in an effort to hopefully get some advice about what to do next. I moved into my apartment in March of 2011 because I lost my house. I was out of work for a year and just couldn't keep it any longer, even after I found a job. My one and only neighbor who is an older man moved in about a month and a half later. The building has two apartments upstairs and two retails spaces downstairs.
Soon afterward I starting getting bitten. It was Spring, the windows were open and I assumed it was mosquitoes or something like that. But they continued. Then I noticed that my neighbor had fresh bites and scabs on his arms as well as numerous scars. I began to get suspicious. All of this (and the hunt for the elusive insect) took until the beginning of August. I found a bug, treatment was scheduled with Terminex via my Landlady and the neighbor insisted that he did not have any issues. First they were going to do a preventative treatment in his unit and a full in mine. On the day of, I was informed that there had been "activity" over there and it would be a full treatment. I was concerned, as I had not seen him leaving with any laundry nor heard him moving things around next door. For 3 weeks after the first treatment, all was well. Then I started getting bit again. By then, it was serious. I had a really had reaction this that time. A welt 5 inches long and 4 inches across, hives all over my body and I was short of breath. My doc put me on Claritan, preventative Benadryl and steroid cream for the bites. It helped but by then I was a wreck. The night before the treatment, my neighbor confessed to me that the building he lived in before was infested and that is why he left. But he threw out his furniture so it was fine, really. I have never been so close to physically hurting someone in my life.
Second treatment happened, two days later I was bitten . They then bit me about 3 times over the next week. I made the Landlady schedule a THIRD treatment. The night before, I found out that since he insisted that he was bug free they were not even going to touch his apartment. At this point I was on psych meds for depression and anxiety tied to this and a sleeping med so I could actually sleep. I told my Landlady when I was going to get paid and to schedule it for them but she was not listening to me. So I had to pawned some jewelery in an effort to have money for the new cover and laundry. My Mother got really fed up and reeeeeally pissed off. The treatment was scheduled for when I was working and I wanted to confront the PCO and make him replace the cover for free but could not. My Mother decided to do this. And we all know, you don't mess with the Mama! I don't usually let anyone fight my battles but I had no choice.
She went there and made my Landlady understand the nature of these bugs. (She did not!) She got me my cover for free and made them spray and inspect his apartment too. And it's a good thing. They found bugs and eggs. They did not find them in my apt. So once again, they were there and he lied.
What I am looking for advice about is that clearly he needs to inspect for them and was told by the PCO how to do so. But he seems unwilling or unable to do so. My landlady is not at all a confrontational person and I don't think will stay on his case. Doesn't he have an obligation to report things like that? And doesn't the Landlady have rights for recourse if he refuses to comply with and prepare for treatment? I don't know how to get through to him. I am unsure if he is just stupid or horrifically lazy. He doesn't seem to care they are there and obviously cannot be trusted to report BB signs if he experiences them. Any advice?
I am not a lawyer and I do not know where you are anyway but it is likely the local laws give the landlady rights both in terms of getting access for treatment/inspection and for evicting someone who does not comply with treatment (even the parts which the tenant has to do themselves).
It sounds like you've made some inroads with her so far (educating her: nice work!) It is great you got her to inspect/treat his home. This gives me hope that she may get that she needs to also follow up, but that may take additional convincing from you.
I don't get the idea about the tenant inspecting his place going forward. The landlady should have a PCO do that routinely. She could perhaps learn to do it with some success. But relying on someone who resisted inspection/treatment initially to do his own inspections does not seem like a great plan. And anyway, most laypeople aren't very good at inspecting. Better to bring in an experienced and knowledgeable pro who knows what to look for and where.
I am so sorry for the nightmare youre enduring.. Big kudos to mom for stepping up and takin' care of business!! Im a mom too, so I know where she was coming from. Kudos to you too, for educating your landlady.. Im so glad she was open minded, and willing to hear you out.. Youre very fortunate, as alot of landlords/landladies/prop managers, my own included are quite the opposite.
First, let me second and third everything nobugs already told you.. To that fantastic advice I would just add this .. Document everything, conversations, evidence, bites, everything.. You can share pertinent info with your landlady should the need arise. I dont know how you feel about confronting your neighbor (lol sounds like mom has no issue lighting a fire under anyone's butt when it comes to protecting her child, though) I was going to suggest trying to calmly, but firmly speak to him..if he blows you off, encourage your landlady to get on his case. Youve been successful in getting her attention thusfar, remind her that she does have the right to push the issue with this tenant. politely remind her that she also has obligations to you to provide safe and sanitary conditions free of vermin ..youre doing your part to comply, and expect other tenants to do the same, even if it means she gets more involved than shes comfortable with in encouraging this guy to do his part. Express your concerns that he cannot be trusted to do inspections, nor report signs of bbs, and therefore she must obtain the help of a professional to do regular and thorough inspections of his unit until enough time has passed with no further signs if them. If that doesnt work, I say let mom chat with her
Best of luck to you..keep us posted
I actually did have a previous conversation with him, during which I showed him my massive prize welt and said, "Listen, I don't care where these bugs came from or whose fault it is. I just need them gone and we need to do what the PCO told us to accomplish that." It didn't seem to make a difference. And of course I cared very much who brought the bugs in but at that point I thought pretending I did not would be more constructive.
I've convinced my Landlady to just schedule another treatment in two weeks and not take the "wait and see approach." We have a 90 day warranty on the treatment and the original first treatment was done on 8/13/2011. I hate to spend the money and do the work if I'm not being bit but I think it is wise, considering the confirmation that they are in his apartment. I think we may even be able to fit in an additional treatment before the warranty expires. If we can, I'm going to put the pressure on to get it done. I also pressured the Landlady to call him and confirm that he is doing the inspections. I pointed out that we can't trust him to do it on his own.
I just don't understand how anyone can knowingly and willingly live with these little monsters and not try to DO something about it! He seems completely unconcerned and I just can't wrap my mind around that. This is a nightmare that has turned me into a complete basket case at times and yet he is over there living his little life not worried at all that their numbers are growing day by day and that the more time that goes by and they are here the harder it will be to get rid of them. Argh! It's infuriating. I swear, nothing in my life has made me feel more insecure and powerless than having bed bugs. And I have by no means lived an ordinary, boring life. It is also ironic that after living for NYC for six year and never laying eyes on a bed bug or having a boyfriend or close friend with them, I now I have them in a small town in New Hampshire. I have been in NH for 4 years now and it has been extraordinarily peaceful, which is why I left the city. Now, one apartment next to me and he has to move in. Ugh.
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