Monday, November 21, 2011
Help Me Howard: Rats
Imagine sitting in a chair, watching the news- you hear a sound you look over to the left and a rat is running across your floor. I don't care who you are, it will give you the creeps. So imagine living in a home like that where the rats are running free. Legally how can you get help from your landlord or association? Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser has some answers.
WSVN -- Irene Chan loves math. Her students, well, so so.
Irene Chan: "It gets a little frustrating, because not everyone loves math but its all worth it at the end.
Irene likes her job and her townhouse.
Irene Chan: "I love my neighbors the community here is beautiful they keep it up really."
Great neighbors, except for the rats that moved in. No, I mean 4 legged rats.
Irene Chan: "Night I came home with my Chipotle, walk over to the kitchen put the bag on the counter and I saw the rat run across my stove."
Irene and her boyfriend set out traps to catch that rat and instead over the next few days, caught 14 rats.
Irene Chan: "Their disgusting, some of them still squeal. When the traps go off, the blood, I won't even talk to you about the blood."
Now people react differently to seeing these things running across their floors, their countertops, their beds. Some people can handle it. Irene is not 'some people'.
Irene Chan: "I freaked out. I screamed bloody murder."
As soon as the rats showed up Irene started complaining to her homeowners association.
Irene Chan: "I had e-mailed the board over a week ago without absolutely no response from 1, 2, 3, 4 board members and a property manger."
Next to her is an empty townhouse with garbage outside. A roofer told her the rats could be coming into the townhouses thru these openings on the roof, so he went up there to put screens over them.
Irene Chan: "They got through 5 of the 16 and the board president came over and ordered them off the roof. It wasn't going to cost them any money because it was a courtesy call at no cost to the association."
At night Irene would hear the rats running thru the wall, hear the rat traps go off. Frustrated and frightened she decided to move to a friends house.
Irene Chan: "Your making me cry now because, I take care of my home I pay my monthly fees on time and this board won't help me take care of this problem. There basically evicting me from my own unit, my home so yes I'm very angry."
She kept complaining to her associations board and getting nowhere. Then one member had a suggestion.
Irene Chan: "And they don't care, they said call Help Me Howard, we don't care."
Finally a good idea from the association. So she did call Help me Howard. Your turn Mr. Finkelstein.
Howard Finkelstein: "In this case the association has the responsibility to maintain the roof and if thats where the rats are getting in. They have to take care of the problem. If you are a renter in an apartment or house, in almost every case, it's the landlords responsibility. If they wont take care of the problem call the health department and code enforcement."
We then contacted a Waterford Courtyard board member who referred us to their lawyer. Charle Otto told us a vendor has begun working at the property, that all possible points of entry for the pests were addressed. He also said they would clean up the vacant unit next to Irene. Then Otto added that Help me Howard should not receive credit because the board was already looking into it, that Irene did not give them enough time. However Irene says that is not true, that she complained in writing 11 days before she called us.
Irene Chan: "I thank God for you guys."
Of course the association's attorney doesn't know we could care less who gets credit, just that Irene can move back into her home and give up her temporary hobby.
Irene Chan: "Ha ha ha, my new hobby catching rats. I don't like it, I have to tell you I prefer kids."
Patrick Fraser: Hopefully the rats will stay away. Now Howard said call the health department or code enforcement if you cant get your association or landlord to help get rid of the rats. So what can those two agencies do. They can investigate and code enforcement can hand out citiations for unsanitary conditions, which can be costly.
Troubles left you feeling trapped? Feel like ratting someone out? Contact us. We wont poison the situation, just help you get the pests out of your life.
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