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Multi-Unit Infestation via the Walls. Please help!

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  1. msb

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Thu Apr 13 2017 12:53:39
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    -After one week of moving into my current unit, I suffered approximately 30-40 bites, and had seen bed bugs crawling up my living room walls during waking hours. After notifying management of the situation I had an inspection and was treated within that same week. I later discovered that at least two units which my apartment shares a wall with had been treated for bed bugs within the last 4 months.

    -During the inspection the PCO only found one live bed bug on a dog bed. On that same dog bed I had already found 3 dead/dying bed bugs in the middle of the same bed [I believe this is because I had applied Advantage flea control within that first week of moving in]. My mattress and box springs were clean of bed bugs/eggs/fecal stains during this inspection, but they have been covered with encasements as required by the PCO before treating. The PCO was also able to look at two empty apartments next to me that are currently being renovated and found some bed bugs. The next day the occupied unit below me was also inspected. The PCO said it was one of the worst infestations he has seen. Since then the residents have moved out and the unit has been treated. The infestation below me was so severe that there are fecal stains along where the ceiling meets the walls, in addition to dead bed bugs still on the walls/ceiling. [I have pictures which confirm this]

    -I have been treated twice now. The PCO sprays a pesticide and applied a powder to the outlets. However, 1 week later I still am seeing bed bugs in places you typically should not such as the kitchen: where the wall meets the countertop, near the refrigerator, washing machine closet, bathroom, utility closet, in the daytime, etc. [The unit below me has the same configuration, e.g. kitchen is below my kitchen,]. I am now the ONLY occupied unit in a four-unit clover shape, and all of these units have been confirmed as having had/have bed bugs.

    -I know that the bed bugs are migrating from the units below and next to me. I actually lived in a different unit within the same apartment complex for 7 weeks with no issues, while waiting for my current unit to be renovated. All furniture in my current unit I had in the prior unit. Plus, the person who moved into my former unit has been bed bug free. So it is 100% not likely that I introduced the bed bugs. And I still have yet to see any on my couch, and the PCO confirmed this.

    -My question is: What recourse do I have? I am Alabama. They have offered to let me break my lease, but they quibbled on returning all of my deposit. I would like to remain in my unit, but am willing to move if the problem is not eliminated; however, I am deathly afraid of bringing just one bug with me. Plus I still want all of my deposits back along with reimbursement for the direct expenses I have incurred for the treatments [encasements, trash bags, plastic bins].

    -I’m not sure that the PCO is equipped to handle such a multi-unit infestation, since the bugs are apparently traveling via the walls. For example, they have told me that they do not use heat treatment. But I’m not sure what input I have into how property management treats the units.

    -I am also concerned with whether I need to address this legally.

  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Thu Apr 13 2017 16:41:43
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    It sounds like you have yet to decide if you want to stay or go.
    The management seems receptive to treating the problem. And though the bed bugs are currently traveling through the walls that won't always be the case, it should become easier to manage after each treatment. There is no reason that the bed bugs would stay in the walls, so if you're willing to wait out the fight and the management keeps to their word about treatment I don't think it's an impossible task to ask of the PCO.

    I'm not hopeful that the management would cover treatment of your belongings if you were to break lease and move out, you should discuss this with them and be certain who is paying for the treatment prior to finding a new apartment.

    Bird dreams are not admissible in court.
  3. Richard56

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Thu Apr 13 2017 17:08:28
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    Laws and codes vary state by state, sometimes even by municipality. I would therefore check your local codes to see what rights you have as a tenant. It appears at the very least that your landlord did not inform you of any bed bug activity in adjoining apartments, but again your local codes will tell you what your rights are.

    Richard

  4. msb

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Fri Apr 14 2017 16:23:56
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    I did not intend to appear ambivalent about the staying/moving issue since I would prefer not to move. However, it is incredibly frustrating that I am right now the only source of food for the bed bugs and I am therefore the only person complaining. How many treatments would it be normal for someone to have to endure to eradicate the issue? I thought I had read elsewhere on this forum that pesticide alone is not necessarily enough to eliminate bed bugs that can travel via walls.

    Has anyone had success with getting reimbursed and/or get reduced rent, since right now I haven't been sleeping in the apartment. I get less than two hours of sleep when I am in the apartment. The bed bugs are so tenacious that I woke up to one crawling along the ceiling and dropping on the bed.

    All I can find is the normal language regarding the implied warranty of habitability in the AL Tenant Landlord Handbook.


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