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Bed bug extermination fee

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Soon after our report, last Thursday, Central Virginia Legal Aid Society put the "Aden Park - Glenway Green" Apartment Complex on notice that the $500 bed bug extermination fee is illegal. The complex believes it's not, and is scheduling apartments for treatment.

"I had to put my clothes in bags, leave them in bags, wash them in hot water and I had to be gone for a couple hours," said resident Jackie Torres.

Jackie Torres' apartment was fumigated Monday. The exterminator even sealed her mattresses, in bug lock plastic covers. Bed bugs don't like plastic, they told her. Two days later, we checked to see whether the extermination and plastic covers work.

"I got bit, as a matter of fact; Monday night was when I got bit. Monday night and I found one on my shirt," Jackie said.

Jackie's apartment was one of the first, treated for bed bugs after management's letter announcing the $500 extermination fee.    

"They shouldn't charge us for it, because now I have to pay 77 dollars for one cover that they put on my bed and I think its 65 dollars for the one they put on my daughter's bed, when I didn't even ask for it," she said.

Of the 538 apartments, between the two complexes, 10 or 15 are infested, says Aden Park Manager Regina Banks. She also says bed bugs started becoming a problem 18 months ago. Then residents got free treatments, now the cost of chemicals dictates a change.

"If Aden Park can identify which tenant or tenants is responsible, the law would permit them to impose this fee, but they can't do that, they haven't been able to do that, and they can't impose a blanket fee on everybody," said Martin Wegbreit, Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.

No one has paid a fee, so far. Much depends on the exchange, between the apartment lawyers and legal aid. Rashia Blackwell threw away all her furniture. She is one tenant blamed for the infestation.

"It makes me feel very upset and especially for to blame me that was not my fault, it really hurts me," said Rashia.

Rashia is now represented by Legal aid.

"I can at least get my furniture back, they can take care of the apartment and I can live comfortably," she said.

Management says unlike other pests, tenants and their guests bring in bed bugs. They say the fee is legal, because residents were given advance notice. We will continue to follow the legal dispute.

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