ST. LOUIS, MO. - Bed bugs. They just don't stop biting and they're tough to get rid of. But should it really take your landlord weeks and weeks to do something about it?
Residents of West Pine Apartments said they were at their wits end. They claimed they've been battling an ongoing bed bug problem for months, without much help.
Five On Your Side asked an onsite manager named Porsche about the problem. She works for The Habitat Company.
“We just wanted to ask you about the bed bug situation,” said Five On Your Side reporter Maria Hallas. “There are people upstairs who are having trouble with that.”
“No ma'am I am not allowed to discuss any issues,” said Porsche.
What kind of issues?
“They just bit me all over,” said Barbara Johnson, a tenant.
Johnson showed us bites. Bites on her legs and her back. But even after complaining to management, she says she waited for action. Not one day, not two, and not a week.
“I had to wait a whole month. They kept me up the whole month,” she said. “It was dangerous because it had me swolled [sic] up.”
When the exterminator showed up, Johnson says whatever he did, didn't do enough to stop the bugs from biting.
Either way, after Five On Your Side showed up today, he was back again.
But we had one more stop to make, the property owner: The Saint Louis Housing Authority.
“If you have bed bugs you should first call the management agency,” said Saint Louis Housing Authority’s Executive Director Cheryl Lovell.
She said the management agency for Johnson’s complex was only aware of her initial complaint.
“They haven't heard from her since,” Lovell said.
But Lovell added this,“ They are following up today to make sure they are scheduling for another treatment,” Lovell said.
She gave tenants of public housing this advice.
“If you don't get a response you should call our office and we will take it from there,” Lovell said.
For now Johnson says the bug spray she bought is keeping buts away, but she worries at least one other infested apartment on her floor will lead to their return.
We contacted Maureen Vaughn at the corporate headquarters for The Habitat Company about our story but she has not responded.
Lovell said the name of the person to call is Janice Townsend and her position is Ombudsman. She can be reached at (314) 286-4333 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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