Glendale couple has cats in their walls

Posted at 6:12 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 23:49:38-04

A Glendale woman says she is dealing with feral cats living in her walls at the Stillwater Apartments near 51st  and Northern avenues. 

Rachel Jacobson says she first noticed a problem about four months ago when she heard scratching and thumps in the wall. At first, she thought it was work being done to the empty apartment complex next door, but then she heard meowing coming from the wall. 

"We could hear them meowing, we could hear them running around, we could hear them fall," Jacobson said. 

After repeated complaints to management, she got serious on Monday.

"I ended up sending them a five-day notice that if they didn't fix, that I could break my lease. And then all of a sudden, someone shows up on Wednesday and cuts the holes in the wall," Jacobson said. 

She made a gross discovery when she looked in the ceiling.

"You can see cat feces and urine everywhere all over the insulation, all over the ceiling where the vents are at," Jacobson said. 

She's worried she could get sick. 

"Any time there's waste, that could be a health and safety hazard," said Jose Alarcon, a landlord/tenant counselor with the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department. 

He says people often don't know they have rights under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. If tenants have given the proper notice and landlords don't comply, tenants can take action in a number of ways. 

"The tenant has four remedies per the law. The first is that they are able to terminate tenancy regardless of if they're on a month-to-month, two-year or ten-year lease," Alarcon said. 

The other remedies include taking legal action, self-help by obtaining a licensed contractor to make the repairs and then having it deducted from the tenant's rent, or reporting any code violations to the city. 

Stillwater Apartments said they are working with Jacobson to take care of the problem.

The City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services offers free counseling for tenants and landlords and hold quarterly workshops.

The next one is July 21. For more information, visit their website.