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Recently discovered bugs at the end of my lease.

(3 posts)
  1. treediz

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Apr 11 2013 15:51:36
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    I've recently discovered I have bedbugs. I spent a week or two researching to make sure that is actually what they are and realized they are definitely bed bugs. In that time period they spread quite a bit. They were not bad at all at first, I'd find one here and there. When I reported it they were all over my box spring and were in the ceiling corners. Here is where things get complicated. The only reason I signed a lease at this apartment is because it is close to my family and they would let me do a 6 month lease and stay month to month after that without raising my rent or charging me an additional fee. It is a luxury apartment and I enjoy the laundry in each unit and heated underground parking, as well as being close to my family but I'm at the upper limit of what I can afford (and I'm not saving anything). A couple of months ago the building was sold to Capreit http://www.capreit.com/ I noticed and reported the bugs about a month after the ownership change.

    The new owners have been willing to heat treat my apartment but have had an attitude and have been nasty with me throughout the entire process. They keep guilt tripping me that "oh and we're not charging you the $2,000 extermination fee." That tells me they are well aware of a potential problem when they purchased the property. So here is where I start to get frustrated.

    The new company will NOT let me stay month to month at the current rate I am paying, they are tacking on a $125 monthly fee if I wish to do that. Otherwise, they are willing to keep my rent at the same rate if I sign a year lease. I have been looking for other rentals online and stumbled across an ad for their place. They are advertising apartments for $50 cheaper a month than what my current rent is (before they tack on the $125 month to month fee). I called the complex inquiring about this and they confirmed the price. At that point I said I'm a current resident and wanted to sign a year lease if they would match that rate. They wouldn't do it and the manager got super nasty with me. I was explaining that I didn't understand why they are willing to do this to attract new tenants but won't work with me to retain a tenant so their unit isn't sitting empty costing them my monthly rate of $1,049. Seems like a reasonable win-win solution to me and I went to business school. They are firm on there rules and won't work with me. Mainly, I'm trying to stay close to my family, remain in a somewhat safe area, and cut my expenses. I inquired about moving into a smaller less expensive unit in the same complex and they said I have to be there a year before I can transfer my lease, I've been there 9 months so far. Otherwise I have to pay a $400 transfer fee and still give my proper 60 day notice. So I'm close to being at a wash then if I were to pay $1,215 for rent for 3 months and then move into a 1 bedroom or sign a year lease at $1,049 and stay where I'm at and skip the moving headache. But then again, why would I stay where I know I have had bedbugs and they are jerks to deal with???

    So my home has been totally uprooted. I'm paying a full-month's rent and have been cooperative with the apartment management, as well as the exterminators. I spent all of last weekend properly doing laundry and will end up spending close to $200 alone on dry cleaning. I lost 2 weekend days over this, $200 in dry cleaning, and spent another 5 hours this week moving all of my stuff so they can properly treat it, then moving it back so I can somewhat live for 2 weeks before they come back to do the treatment again. I know maybe I'm just complaining about the situation but this doesn't seem fair to me. If nothing else I feel like I should get a free months rent, or at least half to cover the agony of living like this and digging through bags of clothes to find something to wear to work that day.

    On top of that I have anxiety. Because of all of this stress it has triggered panic attacks that I thought were under control. Now I have a doctors appointment setup to go back, talk to someone, and get back on my meds that I was able to stop taking. I get that they are running a business but they could at least treat me like a human being considering The Barrington in Woodbury Minnesota are considered luxury apartments. I would think some level of courtesy and customer service should go along with that.

    At this point I'm just so anxious, frustrated, pissed off, and beside myself. My Mom brought her camera over so I could take some pictures of how it looked when I got home from work. She walked in the front door and just started crying because she didn't know how bad it was. What do I do? Do I remain friendly and cooperate with everyone and consider signing a year lease in hopes that I won't have to go through this again and that management will be respectful? I find it hard to believe I will get treated with any respect once I sign a lease if this is how their treating me when all I have to do is give my 60 day notice and can leave. The problem is I can't find any apartments in in the area that are decent with laundry in the unit and underground parking. Most of those apartments are $100-$300 more a month and the apartments that are cheaper, and I'm talking like $100 cheaper either don't have laundry, don't have underground parking, or both. Last night I was so upset I almost broke a window with my baseball bat. The next treatment is scheduled for April 24th. I'm almost tempted to find a place that will take me on May 1st and just walk from my lease and telling them and their 60 day notice to go fuck themselves. Maybe that isn't the best way to handle things.

    Does anyone have any advice? Obviously if I left I would treat all of my stuff before I moved into a new facility. I'd really love to stay and sign a year lease for what they are advertising to potential renters. They won't reduce my rent $50 a month to keep me for a year! I don't get it, they are only losing $600 then instead of $1049, which is what they would lose from even just one month of an empty apartment and incur costs on top of that to prep the apartment for another renter.

    Do I look for an attorney? Do I say fuck it and walk and let them threaten me with legal action for not giving 60 day notice? Do I stay put and put on a smiley face and hope we can mitigate an already strained renter/tenant relationship? What would you do in this situation?

  2. Emm

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Apr 11 2013 16:18:54
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    Giving an introductory lease rate which is below the standard rate is a very common practice, at least where I live (Washington DC area). It's also perfectly legal here. After 1 year, they give you the standard rate--usually at least $100 more a month. So from my perspective, unless you have something in writing in your current lease which contradicts the new landlords, they are likely within their rights. Contact your local tenants rights organization to confirm though. Each city/state is different.

    Can you wait until heat treatment is complete and then move? Heat treatment will treat all of your belongings (clothing, books, electronics, etc), so no need to retreat anything outside of what you brought with you on treatment day + anything removed from your apartment during treatment (aerosols, candles, etc).

    I’d be careful leaving without a 60 day notice unless you contact an attorney or tenants right organization first, especially since it seems the landlord is treating the problem (so you can't use that as a defense). It can ding your credit if they sue and go after you for the money.

  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Apr 11 2013 16:38:44
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    No one can give you legal advice on this site but a local tenants' org may have advice.

    Heat treatment can be very effective and most landlords won't spring for it. So in that sense, you are kind of lucky. If you do sign a lease, I would suspect that the landlord has every intention of delivering a bed bug-free unit, which isn't always true. And as Emm said you may be able to leave bed bug free if you move after treatment.

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

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