The proof is in the pictures and the pest control report, but that doesn’t seem to be good enough to get a west Phoenix family out of their lease after waking up covered in bed bug bites.
Ron only wanted to be identified by first name because he’s worried any future landlords will be afraid to let him rent. He said on the day that he and his wife moved into the Phoenician Pines Apartments, near 35th Avenue, he laid down on the floor in the master bedroom for a nap with his 2-year-old granddaughter and when they woke up they were both covered in bright red bites.
“Big welts on her face and her arms and her legs and her back, terrible. She was constantly scratching them,” Ron said as he described his granddaughter’s skin.
He brought in an expert to be sure, and the canine that the pest control company uses to sniff out bed bugs found them in addition to evidence that the apartment had been infested for months, according to the written report.
"Our dilemma is our stuff is tainted now," Ron said.
Ron said he'll have to pay to have all of his furniture heat treated because he doesn’t want to expose his grandchildren to any chemical sprays. That’s in addition to the cost of finding a new place and hiring movers to get the furniture out and moved into a new apartment.
Ron said the costs and stress have turned their lives upside down and that Phoenician Pines won't let them out of the lease and wants to charge nearly $3,000 for another month’s rent and for breaking the lease.
Phoenician Pines has a different story and said it brought in an expert, as well, and found no evidence of bed bugs. An apartment manager said they take any complaint very seriously and would never knowingly expose anyone to an unsafe unit and believes this family's report was wrong.
Ron is now working with Arizona Tenants Advocates, which helps renters know their legal rights and navigate the process of breaking a lease.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, resources are available here.