LL woman says roaches are too much


The delicious aroma of cooking meatloaf belies the cockroach infestation at the second floor apartment of Dolores Avila, who rents at Casa de Chavez in Los Lunas.

She pulls out a random cooking pot from the lower cupboard revealing a bunch of trapped cockroaches and several dead ones.

"I hate to go in there," Avila says as she carefully pulls out a baking pan. "I never know what's going to jump out on me."

Avila is exasperated after two years of complaints to the apartment complex manager to address the problem of bugs, she said.

There is a leaky pipe under the kitchen sink still waiting for the maintenance man to come back to fix it. She has to empty the large pot the maintenance man suggested she place under the pipe to catch the water until he comes back with the part, but she said he hasn't returned.

"I was paying them my rent on time every month, and I got to the point where, that's it," she said.

Avila hasn't paid her rent for the past two months.

"The last time my cousin was here, a cockroach was in his cereal," said Avila's 11-year-old son, Santana.

Casa de Chavez is an adobe style apartment complex on N.M. 314 in Los Lunas. When the sun goes down, Avila says, the walls crawl with huge cockroaches.

Property manager Shelly Detrick said the big bugs are water bugs, and they have been trying to get rid of them.

The German cockroaches were brought to the complex by a tenant, Detrick said.

"Anytime anybody asks us to spray, we spray," Detrick said. "We've had an exterminator go in, and if anybody has a special problem, we have a bait that we use, and she (Avila) has not complained of that to me."

There is a vacant apartment the exterminator has been treating for cockroaches for months, and has bombed it several times, Detrick said. She thinks the problem is solved now, but they are still waiting to rent it until they are certain the problem is solved.

"I lived next door when I first moved here," Avila said. "I was here for about a week, and me and the kids started getting sick. I mean nonstop.

"We didn't know what was going on with us … They were like weird viruses, the doctors didn't even know what it was. They would put us on antibiotics, but as soon as we got off of them, we'd get sick again."

The apartment smelled like mildew when you first walked in, she said, and so she complained to the landlord.

"So they moved us into this apartment, but I've had the bug problem since I moved in," Avila said.

She said Detrick sent an exterminator, but it didn't do much good.

Detrick said they have tried to accommodate Avila, and got her a new refrigerator and a new stove when she needed them, but the last time Detrick saw them, "they didn't look so good."

"I've had trouble with her leaving her trash out there in front of her door, and I've told her, 'Don't leave your trash out there, it will attract bugs,'" Detrick said. "But she leaves her trash there, and you can tell it's been there for days."

The adjoining apartment Avila moved out of has been vacant since February. A family had moved in, but moved out after only a few months, Avila said.

Outside her apartment door, she points to mold growing in the corner of the apartment door frame.

Detrick said the apartment is vacant because, "it needs some major work done."

In Avila's bathroom, the floor is soft around the commode, which can be tilted from side-to-side, and isn't secured to the floor. She has been waiting for management to fix it, too, she said.

And there is an electrical switch in the kitchen that has to be jiggled before it will work.

"She wants stuff done when she wants it done," Detrick said. "My maintenance man goes over there, but every time he goes over there, she has something to do and won't let him go in. We can't get together on a schedule for it. We've tried to work with her."

-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.