Lakewood mom says apartment complex refuses to address rat infestation problem

Posted at 7:05 PM, Sep 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-24 21:07:26-04

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Rats are taking over Jewell Park Apartments in Lakewood and one woman said property management isn't doing enough to fix the problem.

Maryah Medina said she first noticed the Norway rats in her apartment after smelling something strange coming from the complex's basement. She complained to the management company, Wheelhouse Apartments, on September 2, but received no response.

"Every night that we laid down, that we stayed here, you would wake up with rats on you and crawling down your body," Medina said.

The problem was so bad the family began sleeping in tents so the rats couldn't get to them. She complained again to management on September 7 before moving out to stay in a hotel.

"It's been a nightmare, because of fear of what could happen to us if we stayed here," Medina said.

On September 8, Denver Pest and Wildlife Solutions treated the apartment by deploying bait stations.  Poisoning the rats, however, only brought bigger problems.

"The rats have clearly started dying. You can tell only by the strong smell of death throughout the apartment right now," Medina said.

Medina said the rats destroyed nearly everything she owned, chewing through her furniture and contaminating her belongings. She has since found a new place to live but has had to leave most of her stuff behind.

"We've pretty much lost everything at this point," Medina said. "I would like to see property management compensate us for moving costs, the costs to relocate and rebuild our lives," Medina said.

In a statement to Denver7, Wheelhouse Apartments, President, Nick Costanzo, said: 

Our team understands the importance of providing a safe and clean living environment.  When concerns do arise we take pride in our ability to resolve issues in a quick and fair manner.
The tenant first reported that there was a rodent problem on 9/2.  We promptly scheduled a professional pest control vendor. Denver Pest and Wildlife Solutions treated the apartment on 9/8. The tenant was concerned with treatment options presented due to a pet, and as such only bait stations were deployed. The bait stations were placed in areas that were inaccessible to pets and children; this was done in accordance with industry standards for rat abatement.
Due to the rodent issue, on 9/11 we offered the tenant the options to either transfer to a different apartment community or terminate their lease without penalty. On 9/19 the tenant did confirm plans to vacate the apartment without penalty on 9/25.
Following the initial treatment a member of our team followed up on 9/13 and again on 9/18. During the 9/18 visit, the tenant’s mother told our maintenance technician that they have had no recent rodent activity and that they were planning to move out within the next week.
It is unfortunate that this isolated situation occurred. Our team communicated with the tenant and actively treated the problem, additionally we offered the tenant fair and reasonable options. We will follow up on any additional treatments needed for this apartment and have not had any other rodent activity reported at this community.