Rats Invading Home - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Rats Invading Home

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Tenant Azahy Arencibia Tenant Azahy Arencibia
The house Arencibia and her daughters rented The house Arencibia and her daughters rented

She found a house for rent that was perfect for her family. Then a few weeks later one rat showed up, and another and another, so what do you do if you rent a place that has rats or roaches? One thing: call Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

WSVN -- When some people say rats, they mean, "Oh, darn it." When Azahy Arencibia says rats, she means ... rats.

Azahy Arencibia: "One day I was in the kitchen and there was a rat walking in the living room. The girls' dad saw it and he was here at the time and killed it."

A rat like this was in a house that Azahy and her three young daughters had rented, a house they all loved.

Azahy Arencibia: "And the landlord was very nice. He was willing to work with me and he liked the fact that I had three girls. Believe it or not, a lot of people don't like kids."

But the day after the first rat was spotted, a second one strolled through the kitchen.

Azahy Arencibia: "Once I saw the second one, I already knew we had a problem because people tell you, once you see more than one you have a problem."

And then came the signs that a lot more rats were roaming around their house.

Azahy Arencibia: "I've seen droppings in the kitchen, in the couch, in my entertainment center. I've seen droppings in the bathroom, I've seen droppings in the girls' room."

Even more disturbing to Azahy, the rats came after her kids' toys.

Azahy Arencibia: "They chewed up on the toys, on the teddy bears. They have chewed up in my couches, the inside of the couch."

Look at the inside of the couch. This wasn't one rat tearing out pieces of a couch for a nest. This was a rat pack.

Azahy Arencibia: "It's disgusting. I'm concerned for their health. I'm concerned for all the bacteria and all the stuff the rats bring. It's just disgusting."

At night, Azahy can hear the rats in the walls or scurrying through the house. She says if you have never heard it, you don't want to.

Azahy Arencibia: "I heard the rats in the room and I started screaming, woke up the girls. When I heard that, I stormed out of the room and came to sleep with the girls."

Azahy complained to the landlord. He tried poison, but it didn't work.

Azahy Arencibia: "Last night they were so active. You could hear them. I can't even sit and enjoy my living room, watch TV, I can't do anything. I feel like they are going to come out any minute."

Well, Howard, Azahy likes her landlord, likes her house but hates the rats. So whether it's rats or roaches or any pest, legally, who has to remove them? The tenant or the landlord?

Howard Finkelstein: "It depends on the lease. If the lease says it's the landlords job, it is. If it says it's the tenant's job, they have to pay to exterminate the pests, and if the lease doesn't mention it or there is no lease, if it's a house or duplex, it's the tenant's problem. In an apartment, it's the landlord's responsibility."

We called Azahy's landlord. He told us he was taking care of the problem, and he was. Within a few days, the rats were all gone. Azahy has not seen one in a while.

And if your landlord isn't as helpful, you have options.

Howard Finkelstein: "Call the health department and send the landlord a letter giving them seven days to exterminate the pests. Let them know that if they don't, you will consider them in breach of the contract. Then you break the lease, move out and get your security deposit back."

Azahy's landlord was able to exterminate the rats. She just hopes it's not a temporary solution.

Azahy Arencibia: "I don't want them to disappear for a few months like they did last time, that they were OK for a few weeks. I want them to be out completely."

When you are getting ready to rent a place, make sure the lease says who is responsible for the extermination or rats, roaches, any pests. If the landlord says they will take care of it, make sure they put that in writing. It may not seem like a big deal then, but as Azahy found out, it can be.

Come across a dirty rat that's left you trapped? Wanna exterminate the problem? Contact us. We won't poison the situation, but hopefully when we're done, you will look at the camera and say ... cheese!

With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:

E-mail: helpmehoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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