Houston, I Have a Problem: Apartment complex wants tenants to pay for bed bug infestation

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Northgate Meadows Apartments has accumulated hundreds of new tenants in 2018, and none of them have signed a lease. According to one resident, she and other renters are now sharing their living space with bed bugs, and management is charging them with sending the creepy-crawlers packing.

The resident, who asked that WCPO not publicize her name for fear of retaliation from her landlords, recorded cell phone video showing the little insects getting comfortable in her apartment.

"Bed bugs in the laundry room, bed bugs in the apartments -- everything is infested," she said. "I'm ****** off because all my stuff is ruined."

Although the terms of her lease include a provision stating "Landlord is responsible for making a reasonable provision for the extermination in the Premises," she said the building's owner, PLK Communities, was pressuring her and other residents to pay out of pocket for the pests' removal.

They would need deep pockets to make it happen. According to a Terminix exterminator who appraised the apartment, a full removal would take multiple treatments at $989 each.

WCPO reached out to PLK Communities and highlighted the portion of the lease agreement saying the landlord should be responsible for pest removal. 

"We don't comment specifically about individual residents, however, from time to time these things occur, as they do at hotels, hospitals and other apartment communities," the company wrote in a reply. "As soon as we become aware, we immediately begin treating and will treat until the infestation is eradicated. We treat our residents fairly and strictly follow the terms of our rental agreements."

After repeated inquiry, PLK Communities agreed to let the tenant out of her lease. It will not, however, pay for her ruined belongings. 

Editor’s note: WCPO does not ordinarily use anonymous sources. However, WCPO staff members use anonymous sources in rare circumstances where such sources are the only way to obtain information vital to the public good. WCPO staff members have vetted these sources and believe the information they provide to be accurate and in good faith.

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