Valda Redfern on 08/08/2009
I reserved a duplex apartment at this address in Boston's North End for a period of 13 days in July 2009 as an alternative to hotel accommodation during my attendance at a conference at the Seaport World Trade Centre. The apartment number was 2C, street facing, on the first and second floors of the building. The rental agency is Zoe Realty Trust:
I paid the full rent of $1428 in advance when I made the reservation, on 6th May 2009.
I arrived in Boston in th
e late afternoon of Thursday 2nd July and went straight from the airport to the apartment. The next day I noticed that I seemed to have been bitten around the back of my neck and supposed the bites must have been from mosquitoes, though I had not noticed any mosquitoes in the area. The day after that, Saturday, I realised that I had also been bitten on my legs and torso. I wondered if perhaps a dog flea had jumped on me while I had walked through a park on my way to my conference. That night I shook out all my clothes in the bath but found no flea.
On Sunday morning, after a night of scratching, I rose from my bed and discovered a large bedbug on the sheet beneath me. It was so engorged with blood that it could only crawl. I had never seen a begbug before, but I knew what it must be, and soon confirmed that by checking out descriptions and images bedbugs on the internet. I reported this to the duty number listed in the apartment information pack and the person at the other end promised to inform the owner. A little later that day the owner spoke to me on he aparemtn phone and promised to investigate the problem. I then had to leave for my conference and was away all day. When I returned, I smelled something pungent, though not unpleasant, which I took to be insecticide. All the sheets had been changed, and there were a couple of what I assume were traps under the bed. I found a fugitive bedbug heading away from there towards the bathroom at the other end of the main room, and another bedbug on the tiled bathroom wall.
On Monday I awoke with more bites and complained again. The pest controllers returned while I was out - sheets changed again, and a very large polythene bag left in the bedroom. The owner told me that the pest controllers had found no signs of infestation. But I found another couple of live bed bugs.
On Tuesday I awoke with yet more bites (I stopped counting at 150) and called the owner. He said that an English family staying at the apartment the week before I moved in had brought bedbugs with them in their luggage, and that he had called in the pest controllers then too. We agreed that I could not stay there any longer. He had no other apartments he could offer for more than a day or two at a time, so we agreed that I would move to a hotel. I reserved a room at the cheapest hotel I could find, a two-star miles away from the Seaport WTC, packed, and moved out.
At that time the owner offered me a 50% refund, ie $714. I replied that I thought the right thing for him to do would be to make a full refund. I agreed to wait for the pest control people to arrive later that morning so that they could see for themselves what sort of bites I had suffered. When they did turn up, they would not comment on the bites, but I gave them a little jar containing a small collection of bedbugs.
On my return I explained to the owner that I had had to pay more than the $714 for my hotel bill alone, to say nothing of all the restaurant meals I had to buy, the taxi fare, the T fares, the loss of a morning, the laundry costs, and the near-ruin of my stay in Boston. I have had no response.