A Massive Bed Bug Infestation Within An Entire Lakeland Apartment Complex Was Blamed On Tenants
A bed bug infestation is one of the most stressful ordeals that a person can experience, and unfortunately, the bloodsucking insect pests often infest homes, apartments, businesses and public buildings in the Tampa Bay Area. Last summer, one of the most extensive bed bug infestations ever documented in the Tampa Bay area occurred at a Lakeside Apartment complex. This infestation saw nearly all 78 units of the Renaissance At Washington senior public housing complex become inundated with bed bugs. The apartment manager was criticized for her handling of the infestation, and tenants were billed for pest control services. The infestation lasted for months, and the Lakeland Housing Authority was slow to offer assistance.
After hundreds of tenants suffered painful and irritating bed bug bites for six months, the Lakeland Housing Authority was fined for a code violation concerning persistent bed bug issues. This fine was issued on April 3rd, but it did not seem to motivate the housing authority to address the extensive infestation, as tenants continued to suffer bed bug bites well into the summer. One resident, Marilyn Chapel, led efforts to appeal to the housing authority for assistance with the bed bugs, but her efforts were largely fruitless, as the housing authority eventually charged the apartment’s elderly and cash-strapped tenants to pay $340 for bed bug control services.
During June, a meeting between tenants and the apartment’s manager, Lovette Johnson, finally took place in an apartment meeting room. Many of the more than 2 dozen tenants in attendance blamed Johnson for not doing enough to eradicate the infestation, and some tenants admitted to being reluctant to report bed bugs within their unit due to a fear of being evicted. Johnson responded by claiming that all units in the building had been sprayed more than once for insect pests. Lakeland Code Enforcement Supervisor Jim Dehne also attended the meeting, but he and his office had not been aware of the extent of the infestation. A code-enforcement hearing on the matter scheduled for a later date.
Have you ever lived in an apartment building that became infested with bed bugs?