Roaches invade South Knoxville multi-family home

Roaches invade South Knoxville multi-family home

Posted:
We saw roaches all over the back of this picture frame when it came off the wall. We saw roaches all over the back of this picture frame when it came off the wall.
"Whenever I spray, I'll leave for a little while then come back. I will get rid of the dead ones, but it is as if I never sprayed," tenant Leslie Lee said. "Whenever I spray, I'll leave for a little while then come back. I will get rid of the dead ones, but it is as if I never sprayed," tenant Leslie Lee said.
Lee won't go into her closet because there are so many roaches inside. Lee won't go into her closet because there are so many roaches inside.
"I hate bugs because bugs will get on you, they crawl and itch you," six-year-old Ta'Lisha said. "I hate bugs because bugs will get on you, they crawl and itch you," six-year-old Ta'Lisha said.
Octavian Pearson said the roaches have been around for five months, despite conversations with the landlord. Octavian Pearson said the roaches have been around for five months, despite conversations with the landlord.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - If you rent an apartment, home or trailer, your landlord is required by law to prove a safe and habitable home. That includes a home that is free from vermin and pests.

In South Knoxville, people who live in separate units but in the same home face a problem with roaches.

When 6 On Your Side stopped by the home, we saw nasty cockroaches, crawling on the walls and living inside closets, and even on the back of a picture frame.

"I can't get my clothes out of my closet, because every time I open my closet, I find roaches," said tenant Leslie Lee.

Lee cringed just mentioning the pests.

"They're all up in the corner over here, all on the door, here are their droppings. They're in my closet, they get in my clothes," she said.

 Lee has used store-bought remedies to kill the bugs, but they haven't worked.

A single mother with four children, Lee holds down a full time job. She and two other families have apartments inside the old home.

"Whenever I spray, I'll leave for a little while then come back. I will get rid of the dead ones, but it is as if I never sprayed," she said.

She's put out bug traps in her kitchen - several of them. But whenever she cleans out a drawer or cabinet, the vermin return.

"They're all in my drawers," she showed us.

Roaches creep down the door in the children's room. Six-year-old Ta'Lisha doesn't want to share her space with them.

"I hate bugs because bugs will get on you, they crawl and itch you," she said.

Octavian Pearson lives in a downstairs apartment. Bugs have infested his place, too.

"All back there," he showed us. "They come out through the sink, right here. And they come out through here."

Pearson said the roaches have been around for five months, despite conversations with the landlord.

Under the maintenance section of the state's landlord tenant act it states:

"The landlord shall do whatever is necessary to keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition."

With all the bugs, Lee says her place is not healthy. She's received broken promises from her landlord.

"He's going to come spray over the weekend, then I never hear from him," she said.

She said she's contacted him two or three times.

6 On Your Side contacted the landlord, but he has not responded to several requests for comment.

However, he sent this text message to Lee:

"The reason you have roaches, there is trash inside your house. You are in the process of facing an eviction. Be looking for another place to stay."

Leaving dirty dishes in the sink or having dirty laundry on the floor does not constitute unsafe living conditions.

"I'd like for him to come spray, if not once or twice," Lee said.

We don't know what is going to happen here, but health authorities say if a landlord does not attempt to eliminate a bug infestation, the tenant can hire an exterminator, then take the amount of money for the job off the next month's rent.

For the sake of her children, Lee is considering that option. 


Don Dare's 6 On Your Side reports can be seen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on 6 News at 6:00.

If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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