Pickaway County – A couple said that they are suing a landlord after he didn’t disclose that the apartment they planned to rent from him was infested with bugs and mice.
The Johnsons said that they were looking for a cheaper place to rent in the Pickaway County area after their current landlord reported to them they would be raising the rent beyond what they could budget. Struggling to find a place that was within budget and allowed a dog, they came across a listing for 729 1/2 South Court street a 2 bed one bath for 995 per month but didn’t know that just a week ago three dogs were taken out of the place in poor condition after an eviction, the home in terrible condition was cleaned up just slightly.
“When we first looked at the place everything was covered with tarps and they were painting inside so we really weren’t able to get a great look at the property before we put our deposit down,” said the Johnsons, “we knew it was a bit of a fixer-upper but we don’t have any issues with that and were happy to have a home in the budget that we could make our own. After we got the keys we did a final walk-through and realized the nightmare we had gotten into.”
The Johnsons posted a video of what they had received after getting the keys, in the live video as they talk about the issues they find several live mice running through the apartment, along with roaches that were scurrying on the walls. When the Johnsons contacted the landlord Rick Starr he told them that he knew about the infestations, and had treated it, but the neighbors have the same issues and, “you gotta stay on top of it, so do the neighbors.” He then said, “you’ll enjoy the place.”
The Johnsons said no, and asked for a reimbursement of the deposit, and wanted to back out of the deal, Starr said that he would hold the deposit until they found another renter and prorate the return of the deposit.
They also contacted the local Pickaway Health department who said that they know of some of the issues at the location and have sent letters and asked the landlord to deal with issues being reported but he hasn’t been receptive. The Johnsons shared their experience with the Health department by showing the video and photos they had taken of the location. The Health department was just recently there for the evictions though so they did know some recent history.
The Johnsons said that they have filed a suit in Pickaway Common court and plan to sue for their deposit, they are not moving in, and have found a more suitable home to rent.
“It’s a life lesson for us, we are trying to save money to buy a home in the future. I feel bad for people who are taken advantage of by landlords like this, it’s not ok. Just because we can’t afford a high rent doesn’t mean people have to live that way.”
We reached out to Mr. Starr but he did not comment.