Phonecia Smith and her six children didn’t sleep in their apartment last night.
She said bed bugs have scared them off.
“Oh my god. It’s just so, it’s just creepy,” she said. “They come out at night. We are itching all the time when we are in here. But at night when we go to sleep, that’s when we wake up, and we have bumps on us.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve been to Regency Palms Apartments in Port Richey talking to residents battling bed bugs. And just like in past cases, residents said management blames them for the problem.
But I talked to an official with Dominium, the new management company that took over the property in 2015.
They sent a letter out to residents last month acknowledging a bed bug problem, saying they were going to inspect every unit. They tell me they found bed bugs in 16 apartments and are treating all of them.
They said it should be done in the next week at no cost to tenants.
Smith said it’s not happening fast enough, and she needs to find a safe place for her family now.
“I’m trying to find help now. I’m calling churches. I’ve called code enforcement. They told me they don’t deal with bugs,” she said.
Legal experts said always report bed bugs to your landlord right away.
And that landlord should then bring in a qualified exterminator to inspect.
They also say landlords are responsible for paying for extermination.
But only if the tenant didn’t introduce the bugs into the home.
Figuring that out can be difficult, especially in buildings with multiple units .
Meanwhile, the resident we met in 2011 says her former landlord is suing her for breaking the lease, even though she lost thousands of dollars worth of belongings.
And this former tenant says management put a ding on her credit after she left, and she hasn’t been able to rent since.