Monday, July 30, 2007
Help Me Howard: Pigeons In Roof
A South Florida woman says her home is for the birds -- literally -- sharing her apartment with pigeons, and the problem has become so bad, she's calling Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Tiffany Barnes: "Bathroom smells like something dead in there."
Don't you wish that one day you would see a realtor show a house this way?
Tiffany Barnes: "This is where all the rain and pigeon poop and all the nasty stuff come in and gets drained on the carpet in my room."
Tiffany is not a realtor. She is a renter showing us her apartment.
Tiffany Barnes: "To keep the flies and gnats and things up out of there, so we put a piece of tissue up there."
Want to know the cause of her problem? Let's get a broom.
Tiffany Barnes: "You hear them, you hear them over there?"
All right, now let's watch them.
Tiffany Barnes: "Sounds like they may be cooing out this way."
The guests who roost here? Pigeons.
Tiffany Barnes: "You can hear them fly in. You can hear them cooing. It sounds like they have a nest in there."
Every day they swoop in.
Tiffany Barnes: "Because you can hear them cooing."
As you can see, from the outside, the tiles are missing. A hole to you and me, a home to a pigeon.
Tiffany Barnes: "In the morning, when the sun comes up, they're basically my alarm clock. That's how I get up in the morning."
And, of course, where there are a lot of pigeons there is a lot of pigeon poop.
Tiffany Barnes: "It smells like dead pigeons in the wall. My bathroom smells like something dead in there."
Not only does it stink, the pigeon manure dripping into her apartment is dangerous for her young daughter and for Tiffany, who is pregnant.
Tiffany Barnes: "When it starts to rain you can see the water and like pigeon poop coming through the windows."
The pigeons began calling this place home months ago, and Tiffany has been complaining for months.
Tiffany Barnes: "Something has to be done, even if I have to pack up all my stuff and move to a different apartment, something has to be done."
But with her newborn on the way and pigeons in the way, Tiffany needs something done quickly and turned the mess over to us.
Howard Finkelstein: "This is a very unusual apartment problem, but the law is the same whether its birds flying around or toilets that don't flush. A landlord has an obligation to make sure the apartment is safe, healthy and livable. This is not, and it has to be corrected immediately."
When I spoke to the manager at the complex she told me it's not an easy problem to solve quickly and "our hands are tied."
They need a new roof for the building, that they have hired a roofer, but he is waiting for a week or two of dry weather to start the project, that they can't cover the hole to block the pigeons because the ones caught in the ceiling would die and the smell would be terrible.
Finally, they did offer to move Tiffany and her daughter to a new apartment, if that's what they want, and, Howard says, that is the best option for Tiffany.
Howard Finkelstein: "Replacing a roof is an understandable hurdle and, in some cases, the delay would be acceptable but not here. This woman is pregnant and living under these conditions is not safe for her and her unborn child, so she should have been moved months ago and needs to get into another unit right away."
Tiffany will move into a different unit until the birds fly the coop and then wants to move back in into her patched up apartment.
Patrick Fraser: Of course, from the nothing-is-ever-simple category, Tiffany needs a truck and help moving from one unit to another. She says she can't afford to hire someone, so she is looking for help. If you want to volunteer Tiffany would appreciate it.
A mess nesting in your lap? Don't lay an egg. Let us swoop in. We are nothing to coo about, but our legal help isn't always for the birds.
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