College students told to continue living in apartment with bedbugs

 — When area college students found bedbugs in their apartment, and the property manager told them they could stay in their apartment, the pair called 5 On Your Side for help.

Robynn Brown moved into her apartment two weeks ago, and 5 On Your Side found a bedbug in her bed during a visit.

“I am shocked right now. I didn’t know they would be that big,” Brown said.

Brown and her two roommates live in Valentine Commons, an off-campus furnished rental near North Carolina State University.

“About a week and a half after I moved in, I started itching,” Brown said.

Brown found bites on her back, leg, foot and arm. Since then, she’s seen telltale signs of bedbugs on her sheets and mattress, including rust colored stains, blood stains and black pellets, which are bedbug waste.

She said she’s upset, “knowing that those were in my bed with me and someone’s telling me that I should still sleep in that bed.”

Property manager Ashley Schultz of Capstone Properties sent an email to the roommates saying they “can still remain living in the apartment” and the bedbugs are “not harmful in any way.”

The roommates also took issue with the time frame for treatment. Schultz said the exterminator’s first available appointment is Sept. 8, which is 10 days after the students reported the bedbug problem.

Since the roommates have all been on each other’s beds and furniture, they worry that’s 10 days for the bugs to spread.

“Your home is supposed to be your safe place, not where you’re scared about things crawling on you,” Brown said.

Not long after 5 On Your Side questioned the property manager, she found another pest control company to come in Friday to treat the apartment.

Schultz released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“Valentine Commons Apartments was notified of a bed bug issue on August 29th. On that same day our pest control company performed an initial inspection and confirmed bed bugs were only found in one bedroom of a four bedroom unit. We immediately began calling vendors to arrange for the earliest possible treatment which is now scheduled for Friday, September 1st. Valentine Commons is paying for the cost of the treatment and once the treatment is completed the apartment will be re-cleaned, carpets and furniture steamed and sanitized and all beds replaced with new mattresses and box springs. We take the concerns of our residents seriously and try to address any issues as quickly as possible.”

Two follow-up treatments are also planned and will happen within the next week.

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