Tenants win hope of bedbug-free building


Bedbug infestation is widespread in Minneapolis rental property. Bedbugs lead to renter instability/forced relocation as tenants flee infested buildings. Bedbugs also cause great distress and property damage to tenants who can ill-afford to throw out and replace the mattresses, box-springs, and furniture that become infested with bedbugs during their tenancy in a bedbug infested apartment building.
The future looks better for tenants in a 26-unit apartment building in the Longfellow Neighborhood now that city inspectors have ordered their landlord to implement a comprehensive plan to eliminate their building’s bedbugs, cockroaches, and mice. The city order issued Oct. 15 directs the landlord to submit a detailed extermination plan for the entire structure within seven days and complete extermination within 30 days. The order states that follow-up extermination treatments and heat treatments for bedbugs will be required if the initial chemical exterminations are not effective.
Bedbugs have been a particular tenant concern at the building. Tenants report that tenant turnover at the apartment building is high due to uncorrected bedbug conditions and that many tenants have required medical attention and lost mattresses, box springs and sofas due to the bedbug infestation.
“The bedbugs bit up my neighbor’s child something awful. She had to move. Ruined her furniture, too,” said Ms. Frances Carter, an elderly resident. “My own grandchildren can’t come to see me here because of the bugs. My children won’t let them. I can’t blame them, but it’s a shame. If this order for extermination works, my grandkids will be able to visit me here again. That will be a wonderful day.”
Tenants have been working with the Minnesota Tenants Union to combat the bedbug problem and to address other health, safety and other repair issues at the building. The building is structurally sound and should be preserved as a valuable housing resource, said Minnesota Tenants Union member Peter Brown. It has serious housing code issues, but they are all correctable. This order is an important step forward because it takes a realistic, comprehensive building-wide approach, the only way to effectively deal with bedbugs.
This is not just for our building, said Denise Tyler, one of the building’s tenant leaders. This is a step forward for tenants and their children all across Minneapolis. We know that bedbugs are a major epidemic in Minneapolis. If this positive thing (bedbug extermination) can happen with our building it can happen all across Minneapolis. We are in this for the long haul.

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