Apartment complex with bed bug problem forces tenant to pay for pest control

Tenant did not know apartments had bug history

PORT RICHEY, Fla. — When Jennifer Palmer and her three children moved into Regency Palms in 2016, they knew nothing of the complex’s bed bug history. Just months before she signed the lease, management sent out a letter warning tenants of a bed bug problem.

We interview Venicia Smith in 2016 after bedbugs drove her and her children out of their apartment and into a hotel.

In Palmer’s case she reported the pests to management. But the bed bug clause in her lease meant she had to pay more than $900 for treatment. She says the exterminator the landlord hired failed to get rid of the infestation.

Receipts show one tenant spent more than $500 replacing household goods. In the case of a quilt her grandparents passed on to her, there is no replacement.

After hearing Palmer’s story and looking over all of her pictures and documents, we approached management at Regency Palms. No one would go on camera but a spokesperson told us the following:

“Following the first report, the unit was treated by licensed pest control professionals and was cleared. Regency Palms followed policies stated in, and agreed to by residents, in their lease agreements regarding pest control.”

After we started asking questions Regency Palms sent an exterminator out for a second treatment. They are now refunding the $900 Palmer paid for the first pest control visit.

We checked with code enforcement. In Pasco County, bug infestations are the responsibility of the landlord unless there’s a clause in the contract.

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