Senior Residents Complain Of Bed Bugs, Manager's Warning On 'Gossip'

Dispatch.com
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

LANCASTER, OH - Some residents of a government-subsidized apartment building for senior citizens say the property manager has mishandled a bedbug outbreak and threatened to evict anyone who talks about the infestation.

Bedbugs were first detected in September in a third-floor apartment, but only that apartment was treated at the time, and the bugs spread to apartments on the lower floors, said residents Dottie Shumway and Mary Lang.

Lang, 74, sobbed as she talked about the bedbugs in her apartment. "I found one crawling on me," she said.

Shumway, 73, said her apartment was found to be free of bedbugs, but the property manager told her she could be evicted for discussing the bugs with other tenants.

The 33-unit Seton Lancaster was developed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus and is managed by BRC Properties Inc.

Shumway was told last month in a letter signed by Cindy Fisher, BRC general manager, that she might be violating her lease: "Specifically, you have been overheard by management expressing your opinion of how the bedbug situation has been handled. This is causing undue stress and worry for many residents, which is a violation of their 'quiet enjoyment of the premises.' We ask that you cease this constant chatter and gossip. Contrary to what you are spreading through the building, we are handling this bedbug problem in the same manner as we have done at five other properties that we manage."

Fisher said the bedbugs are under control. All the apartments that had the bugs have been sprayed or are scheduled to be, and a bug-detecting dog is sniffing apartments for lingering pests, she said.