PHOENIX - Imagine waking up to a few bed bugs every day.
It's what Cynthia Rendon and her mother Dorothy say they've been going through for months while living at the Casa Sol Apartments in Phoenix.
"When I see these bugs crawling, I just get them and I put them in the bottle," said Cynthia.
There's even a process in killing the bugs. They go from a water bottle to a piece of paper where they are taped and dated. Then they are offered as proof to the apartment management team.
You can see what Dorothy says are fresh bite marks on her legs.
"I don't sleep. I'm with my flashlight every night, looking just to see if there's bugs. I'm worried because my mom is always getting bitten," said Cynthia.
Cynthia said the apartment complex told her they believe she brought the bugs in. She said that's not the case and that they were already at the apartment before she arrived.
Cynthia said she washed all bedding and clothes as instructed.
And the complex did spray. In fact, Casa Sol said they sent out a pest control company after each complaint.
Cynthia shows us old evidence of bugs on her bed. They are no longer there, but her mom sleeps on a chair. And she says that chair still has bugs.
While we were there, Cynthia led us on a bug hunt. And we find one in the carpeting near Dorothy's chair.
When Cynthia let me know about it, we contacted Casa Sol Apartments.
They have a different story. They say they responded in a timely manner to each complaint.
After we explained Cynthia's continued concern, the complex did spray again.
This time it seemed to work for a few weeks. Cynthia and Dorothy said they did not see the bugs during that time. But then we got a call that they did find a bug. This time, the Casa Sol Apartments had had enough.
Through an attorney, the complex said that they have offered Cynthia the opportunity to have another company come out and spray, to move her into a different apartment and to allow her to terminate her lease with no penalties, but she has declined each offer.
We're still trying to work with both sides since Cynthia wants to stay in the apartment.
Do you have bed bugs in your apartment?
Ken Volk with Arizona Tenant Advocates , said it's a huge problem in the Valley.
He recommends doing 3 things if you're a renter and you find bed bugs:
- Hire a third-party independent pest controller to document the possible infestation.
- Establish that they were pre-existing by talking to neighbors.
- Document that you didn't bring them with you. You could get a statement from your old apartment.
The law says rental contracts are void if the landlord knowingly rents out an apartment with bed bugs.
However, It's up to you to prove it.