Maryland Renters Take “Wretched” Conditions Complaints to Court

Complainants allege cockroaches, bedbugs, rodents, mold and more

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Some people in the Langley Park, Md., area say they're living with mold, mice and bugs. Now those residents are taking legal action in hopes of reclaiming their rent money and their lives. Laramar Specialty Services says to its knowledge, it is in compliance with county codes and has no outstanding violations. (Published Monday, Sep 26, 2011)

    A group of Maryland residents sharing complaints about their living conditions took them to court.

    Tenants from the Bedford Station, Victoria Station and Newbury Square apartment complexes joined a coalition organized by immigrant advocacy group Casa de Maryland and took their complaints of cockroaches, bedbugs, rodents, mold and more to Hyattsville District Court.

    Laramar Specialty Services took over management of the properties seven months ago and says it has made significant capital and systematic improvements to the properties and remains committed to continuing them.

    But Sandra Ruiz, who pays $750 per month in rent, said she gets mice in her oven and cockroaches in her heaters and has mold in her carpet. She also said she’s got a dangerous light fixture in the bathroom. Her sister is pregnant, and she fears for the child’s safety.

    Five tenants asked to withhold rent payment in favor of depositing the money in escrow deposit accounts to force the management company to make repairs.

    The judge allowed only one rent escrow account for now and wants to review the situation in mid-October.

    Laramar Specialty Services said that, to its knowledge, it is in compliance with county codes and has no outstanding violations.