Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Help Me Howard: Roaches
When some people see a roach in their home they are disgusted. Now, imagine seeing a couple of hundred in your kitchen, your bathroom even your vents. But the question one woman had since her landlord cant get rid of the roaches, can she break her lease and move out? For the answer, lets bring in Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser
Andrea Dee: "I was so excited to get into this place."
Now let me show you Andrea dees apartment in Pompano Beach.
Andrea Dee: "You know its depressing, its truly depressing."
One reason Andrea liked the area is because a toddler park was nearby for her son, but as she started to move in she noticed some bugs, no problem she thought.
Andrea Dee: "I went ahead and bombed the apartment and that's when I came back about five hours later to 200-250 dead Palmetto bugs."
Andrea swept them all up and stayed another night with family.
Andrea Dee: "I went and bombed the next day to find about another 50-100 of them, and I still refused to move in."
Eventually she moved in the roaches and Palmetto bugs did not move out.
Andrea Dee: "As time went on they were active. They are all over the place. I found them in my kids crib, and I cant live like this."
Andrea has bombed the place three times. She paid an exterminator to come in. Her landlord has paid an exterminator to come in but the roaches also kept coming in.
Andrea Dee: "I cant have my child in this environment. Toddlers, they pick up things, they put them in their mouth, they play with them."
Now when Andrea says roaches are all over the place, she isn't exaggerating. Her pictures show roaches in the sink, in the kitchen, in the bathroom and this picture is one I have never seen, roaches and Palmetto bugs in the vent.
Andrea Dee: "The nest is up there and they are hanging out in the vent ... dead."
Look again at this picture of the bugs dying while trying to come out of the vent.
Andrea Dee: "The exterminator thinks there could be nesting. My apartment is the main nest."
So Andrea said enough of this.
Andrea Dee: "I wanna move out. Just give me my last and security cause I am entitled to it. They told me it is impossible, they cant do it."
The landlord wont let her out of the lease, forcing her to pay for a condo she wont live in.
Andrea Dee: "I will not stay here. I cant stay here right now so I am living with family back and forth between my mom and sister."
Well Howard, Andrea needs an answer. You have seen the pictures, does she have a right to break the lease and get out?
Howard Finkelstein: "Yes. This unit appears to be uninhabitable. Roaches are a threat not only to an adults health but certainly to a toddler. But you cant just move out, you have to send the landlord a letter giving them seven days to fix the problem. If they can't then you can move out."
Andrea then sent the landlord the seven day letter. I spoke to the property manager, he was nice and sent out the exterminator again, but wasn't about to let Andrea out of the lease.
I then contacted the City of Pompano Beach. The next day a code enforcement officer went out. He saw the roaches and then he saw four code violations. In one, he cited the landlord for doing remodeling in the kitchen and bathroom without permits.
He wrote they did other work without plumbing, electrical, mechanical and structural permits. He added the infestation of roaches may provide a hazard to the health, safety and welfare of the occupants.
The attorney for the landlord told me they did not want to be quoted for this story but they were going to let Andrea out of the lease.
Andrea Dee: "I am happy that Patrick was able to help me and came thru."
The good news, Andrea will get her money back but she really wishes they had been able to eliminate the roach problem.
Andrea Dee: "It stinks. I have to live back home with my mom. Now I have to go back out and look for another place to live."
Patrick Fraser: "Howard mentioned writing a seven day letter, but what sort of problem is big enough to allow you to send that letter and break a lease: Roaches, rats, toilets that don't work, a front door that doesn't lock ... that's big. Things like carpet that is worn, a faucet that leaks, closet doors that don't close ... that's irritating, but not enough to get out of a lease."
Got problems bugging you? Wanna exterminate them permanently? Contact us, hopefully we wont bomb when we come in.
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