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PCO Won't Help Me!

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  1. Helplessstudent

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jul 1 2016 12:40:42
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    I'm an international sutdent who is living alone in a one bedroom apt. I used to lived in a half basement apt with other students for less than half year, and did not get any bed bugs. When my mom visited me about 1 month ago, I rent my current apt for her to stay. I had rent apt from this landlord for 2.5 years, nothing happened, so I trust the landlord. Just after we moved in, me and my mom found bite marks on out arms in the morning, but not itchy, we thought that might be a regular bug bite, we do not think of the bed bug, because bed bugs were eliminated in most cities of China long before1970s. During the later time of my mom's visit, I always feel there were bugs crawling over my face, even into my ear. But I couldnot find anything after turned on the light, and my mom said I was being paranoid. After less than 3 weeks my mom was gone, I sleep with the light on, and find bugs appeared on my pillow several times! I still do not know that is a bed bug! Until things got serious, and I finally realized what those are. I informed the landlord, they said the previous tenant didn't have bed bug, and my neighbours either, it's all my problem!
    Landlord called PCO to inspect, and PCO didn't find anything, but with the photos I showed to them, landlord ordered the heat treatment, and I have to pay. this Wensday, PCO came and did the heat treatment, and the man was pretty confident with its effectiveness. BUT, I found bed bugs crawling over my bed and wall at that night again!! At least 3 bed bugs! I took photos, because they are so gross, so I didn't contained a live one. I went to see the landlord the other day, and they asked the PCO to come today to inspect again. The nspector just left, he said he didn't find anyone, and it's normal to see live bed bugs within 24 hr after the heat treatment??????? I showed him photos, but this time he wouldn't believe, and told me if there's no live bug, the PCO won't take any further action.
    I feel completely helpless now, I'm so lonly, I just wish to find a ordinary place to live normally. The landlord and PCO all abandoned me, what should I do? I really counldn't sleep now at night, I feel my life is ruined, and even wish to fled back to China, I cannot hold on anymore!! MY current apt must be infested long before I moved in. Could I insist to move to a different? Or could I legally break the lease with my landlord and move to a different apt? Has any one done this before and successfully left bed bugs behind? PLEASE HELP ME!

  2. Helplessstudent

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jul 1 2016 12:50:59
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    I think it must could not be my problem, because I have used that mattress for 3 years, and in 2 apartments, it is impossible for me to bring those bugs in. Also my current apt is quite old.
    I think the PCO is just trying to get rid of me during the warranty period. Is there anyone who also experience failure of heat treatment? Is that really possbile like what the PCO said it is normal to see live bed bugs within 24 hr after the heat treatment? Will those bugs really gone?
    Also could anyone please give me some advice how to face this situation, and be able to sleep in bed at night? I really feel I'm dying now. I currently enrolled night class, so it is fine to sleep at daytime, but the fall semester is coming, so,,,,, this situation cannot be continued.
    Is moving out the best solution? Is that possible to break the lease and to leave all bed bugs in the old apt?
    Do anyone live in the same city with me? I'm in springfield MO.

  3. Helplessstudent

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jul 1 2016 13:14:53
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    Please, anyone give me some advice, I feel I'm dying, consumed by those tiny monsters. Some people suggest me to move out, I really don't know if that is effective, if anyone who had done that successfully, and recommend me to do so, I would try all I can to break my lease, or at least let my landlord put me in another unit.

  4. damntheseparasites

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jul 1 2016 13:48:38
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    Where are you currently living? We need to maybe take a look at the laws in your state / country to know what to suggest.

    Kill them all....
  5. Helplessstudent

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jul 1 2016 13:52:24
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    damntheseparasites - 2 minutes ago  » 
    Where are you currently living? We need to maybe take a look at the laws in your state / country to know what to suggest.

    Springfield Missouri, I have already checked the law, I don't think it is in favor of the tenant, sad

  6. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jul 1 2016 20:26:15
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    A local tenant's organization can often advise on the local laws. The university housing office where you study should be able to help you find out which local laws apply to tenants. Don't rely on what the landlord said, since they may say it's your responsibility if it isn't.

    Universities sometimes have legal aid services for students and you should look into this. The town may also have a legal aid clinic. I am concerned that you were held responsible. Even if the local laws do say tenants pay for treatment, this probably is not the case if you move into a unit which already has bed bugs. It sounds like that's what happened here. It would be good to talk to a lawyer.

    By heat treatment do you mean structural heat treatment? This is where the entire home is heated to about 140F for four or more hours. This can be effective but bed bugs may also survive and many heat treatment providers now put down dust or spray pesticides as a backup for this reason. Those live bugs may be on their way to dying, if the treatment was successful.

    Note also that heat treatment should not be done without professional inspection of attached units. If a neighbor has them, they can keep coming, and the neighbor may not have reported it.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  7. Helplessstudent

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jul 1 2016 22:23:55
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    Nobugsonme - 1 hour ago  » 
    A local tenant's organization can often advise on the local laws. The university housing office where you study should be able to help you find out which local laws apply to tenants. Don't rely on what the landlord said, since they may say it's your responsibility if it isn't.
    Universities sometimes have legal aid services for students and you should look into this. The town may also have a legal aid clinic. I am concerned that you were held responsible. Even if the local laws do say tenants pay for treatment, this probably is not the case if you move into a unit which already has bed bugs. It sounds like that's what happened here. It would be good to talk to a lawyer.
    By heat treatment do you mean structural heat treatment? This is where the entire home is heated to about 140F for four or more hours. This can be effective but bed bugs may also survive and many heat treatment providers now put down dust or spray pesticides as a backup for this reason. Those live bugs may be on their way to dying, if the treatment was successful.
    Note also that heat treatment should not be done without professional inspection of attached units. If a neighbor has them, they can keep coming, and the neighbor may not have reported it.

    The PCO told me they will heat the entire apt up to 120F and hold up to 3 hr. I did see bed bugs crawling over my bed and wall just like the ordinary day when I lie down on the bed, I questioned if they really looked "damaged, and going to die", and on the opposite pretty active. I have asked another PCO in my area on FB about this, they said it would be possbile, and those bugs will not be able to reproduce. But my landlord insist on that the heat treatment will kill all bugs at once, no one will survive, especially the night right after the treatment. Should I try hard to get help to break the lease? Is moving to another apt really a better or even the best option? Thanks.

  8. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Jul 4 2016 1:39:24
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    You need good legal advice from someone locally-- either a tenant's group, legal clinic, lawyer, or perhaps student housing office. I cannot verify the laws there but I am concerned the landlord may be misrepresenting them as often happens.

    I cannot tell you, for example, if there will be repercussions for breaking the lease. One of the sources I mentioned probably can. They may also be able to tell you if you're entitled to treatment paid for by the landlord.

    Finally, while I am not a heat treatment pro, and while it is true that bed bugs exposed to 120F will die, we have had heat treatment pros here and they have often said they raise the temperature well above 120F in order to ensure the temperatures which kill bed bugs are reached throughout. (That doesn't mean your PCO is wrong, but they may be simplifying things.)

    We've also had treatment providers say that bed bugs can survive structural heat treatment, and many now use pesticide sprays or dusts as a backup treatment for this reason.

    Did the landlord have attached units professionally inspected before your treatment? If not, there is a concern they may have bed bugs.

    Finally, moving is not necessarily the best plan, since you would have to treat your things to make sure you don't move bed bugs.

    If you can get successful treatment, neighbors have been appropriately inspected, then staying may be better. However, I am worried that it may not be your responsibility to pay for treatment (and this should be verified independently of the landlord).

  9. Montrealer2

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Jul 16 2016 5:53:14
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    Hi, HelplessStudent,
    Sorry about the ordeal you're going through.
    To echo NoBugs's point on local laws, I agree (as a non-expert in any way) that you need to be made aware of your rights. According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department (link here), "There are no state or local laws regarding the presence of bed bugs in rental property," so they suggest open communication between renters and landlords.
    HOWEVER: "If there is a structural issue with the building that you believe is allowing pests to enter your living area, you can contact the City’s Building Development Services Department at 864-1056 to find out if you can register a formal complaint."
    It seems to me that, after living in the bldg for 2.5 years with no bed bug problems, that this new apartment either has these sorts of openings that are allowing the bugs to come in, or that the bugs were there before.
    I would start by speaking again to the PCO and demanding a thorough re-inspection at the very least - maybe threaten to post your bad experience with the company on facebook and twitter so they'll want to act quickly to avoid such massive bad publicity.
    Then speak to your landlord again about helping to identify the source of the problem, and threaten to contact the Building Development Services Department to lodge a complaint if he/she doesn't want to help.
    Finally, if the landlord still does not budge, go ahead and make that call for real - hopefully the Department can give you some advice, offer some help, etc.
    I hope you get some results and relief soon!


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