Tenants Could Face Eviction Over Bed Bugs

NECN.com (Boston, MA)
Saturday, June 9, 2012

ELKHART, IN (Associated Press) - Residents of a northern Indiana apartment complex could face eviction if they don't do their part to help control bedbugs under a new policy implemented by housing officials.

The Elkhart Housing Authority says some residents at the Waterfall Highrise complex have not been cooperating with efforts to eradicate the pests, which can infiltrate beds and furniture and leave occupants with bites. More than a dozen units at the complex have bedbug issues, said Kim Sindle, executive director of the agency.

"We're just dealing with people who have been difficult," Sindle told The Elkhart Truth.

Tenants are required to move furniture from the walls when exterminators arrive and follow guidelines for cleaning clothing and bedding, but many haven't followed through, Sindle said. Under the new policy, a tenant who is written up three times for violating the bedbug protocol can receive an eviction notice.

Sindle said he has "no doubt" that someone will face eviction over the matter.

Housing authority officials have used a bedbug-sniffing dog as part of their campaign to get rid of the insect. They also have sent employees for formal training in extermination and spent $20,000 on special heat treatments of heavily affected units.

Another housing authority complex, Rosedale Highrise, has had more success eliminating bedbugs, Sindle noted.

"We've been working hard on this and it's not lack of effort on our part," Sindle said.

Waterfall tenant Larry Milliken said he has had to get rid of a sofa because of an infestation and had a loveseat that received a heat treatment after a bedbug was discovered.

He said his daughter refuses to visit him because she worries she'll inadvertently carry a bedbug home and wind up with her own infestation.

Though he hasn't noticed any bites lately, he said other tenants have.

"It's a never-ending problem we have here," Milliken said.