CHICAGO (CBS) — A family in Washington Park said they’ve been fighting a severe bed bug infestation for two and a half months, and the landlord has not fixed the problem despite a city ordinance stating he has to.
“They’re everywhere,” Evelyn Hernandez said, pointing toward the ceiling of her apartment near 56th and Michigan.
She lives in the home with her adult daughter and two young grand kids. But now, they’re staying with friends on and off to avoid bug bites.
“We moved in February 28 and March 2 is when I found the first bed bug,” she said.
Hernandez said she sent the property manager pictures of the pest the morning of March 2.
She said he came out later that day, sprayed the apartment himself and left a container of bed bug killer behind.
“You can’t spray that stuff around kids,” Hernandez said. “He said we brought the bed bugs with us. Everything we brought with us was new. Everything that wasn’t new was in storage. Dry storage with no air access. So there’s no way.”
The problems persisted, and Hernandez said the manager didn’t get her in touch with a pest control professional until more than a month later.
A city ordinance states it is the landlord’s responsibility to provide pest control services by a pest control professional until the bugs are gone. And the landlord must provide the services within 10 days of the first bed bug sighting.
“I tell him, would you want your family to live like this?” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said the pest control company missed an appointment this week and now–nearly three months after March 2–she is still waiting on a professional to come kill the bugs.
She tried withholding half her monthly rent, and she got a notarized letter telling her to pay up within five days, so she complied.
CBS 2 tried reaching the property manager. He did not answer his door and hung on phone calls three times. The company is called City Properties Investments, LLC.
“I’m getting ate up, and he thinks this is okay,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said she is working with a lawyer to get out of the lease and leave the bites behind–but that’s not all.
“We pay $1400 dollars a month for rent,” she said. “I didn’t pay for bed bugs. No. I want all my money back. That’s the bottom line.”
CBS 2 did not find any previous lawsuits against the company.
Secretary of State records show it manages at least six other properties.
The City of Chicago Department of Public Health has not responded to an inquiry asking whether it will enforce any penalties.