GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A Grand Rapids family under
attack by bed bugs will not pay the rent.
"A couple of days ago, we woke up and I'm being eaten alive,"
said Cathryn Peabody, a mother of two. "I've got bites down both
arms, across my legs and across my back."
The apartment complex, Lighthouse Property Management, has sent
an exterminator to the unit three times.
But after a few days, Peabody and her husband insist, the bugs
"We informed them we would not be paying May or June's rent
until the bed bug issue was resolved," Peabody said.
Denisha Popma, a company representative, denied receiving any
notice that the rent wouldn't be paid because of the pests.
In a phone call, Popma told 24 Hour News 8 the family had an
issue of not paying the rent -- even before the bed bugs showed
Lighthouse Management Properties is in the process of filing for
eviction, Popma said.
She insisted the management has "been out there numerous times
to treat bedbugs ... We've been out there anytime the Peabodys
Said Peabody: "We want the bug problem to be gone, and
obviously, we want the termination of our residency to be
Treating bed bugs is a landlord's responsibility, Cooley Law
Professor Curt Benson said.
However, the Peabodys need to leave if they're not going to pay,
"If they're going to stay and live there, they may not like it,
but they really have to pay rent," Benson said. "If they want to
leave, the law will probably excuse them from paying additional
rent, but you can't have it both ways. You can't stay and refuse to
The likelihood of carrying the bed bugs wherever they go is
keeping the Peabodys from moving out, they said.
Mattresses, chairs and clothes can all be living quarters for
24 Hour News 8 brought an exterminator to the Peabody home, who
found evidence that bed bugs had been in the home, but after
looking under furniture and carpet, he couldn't find any live
"It looks like the treatment has at least helped out," said Mark
VanDerwerp, an exterminator with Rose Pest Solutions. "I don't know
what it used to look like, but I certainly wouldn't say [the
treatment] is going in the wrong direction."
Lighthouse Property Management has sent an exterminator to
fumigate three times in the past month. A company representative
said another one was scheduled to come Friday.