Closings & Delays across the Tennessee Valley

Roaches infest Huntsville Housing Authority unit; tenant facing possible eviction

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A woman sent to clean a Huntsville Housing Authority property found more than what she bargained for. LaToya Moore reached out to the Huntsville Housing Authority to offer her cleaning services for free and to give back, but found the apartment was infested with roaches.

LaToya Moore shared this voicemail with WHNT News 19. It says "Hi Miss Moore, this is Patrice Boddie with Huntsville Housing Authority. You told me about the mission of wanting to clean some units of residents who are elderly or disabled. I have a resident whose name is Mr. Holder and he's in desperate need of help."

This isn't an abandoned home, Calvin Holder and his mentally challenged son live here...along with the pests.

"This whole cabinet is infested. If you touch or move anything you can tell it`s infested," said Moore.

She became aware of the problem after she arrived to clean Mr. Holder's home.

"It's like he's been suffering in silence and when I was called I could not believe what I walked into," said the volunteer.

Moore reached out to Boddie with the Huntsville Housing Authority to tell let her know the infestation will not allow him to pass inspections.

Moore shared emails between her and Boddie with WHNT where Boddie addressed the problem saying, 'I do know that there is a lot more work.'

"When I told her, there was nothing I would be able to do my concern is making sure Junior and his dad. She was like well we are going to have to evict them for failure of housekeeping," said Moore.

Moore says Mr. Holder pays $450 a month for rent and the amount of roaches in the home proves no one has been out to spray for pests.

"I feel like this is an intentional neglect situation. Because if they can go to the front door with the inspector and never come in then walk away and tell me this apartment passed inspection that`s absurd," stated Moore.

Moore says she can't sit back and do nothing.

"They are expecting him at 75 years old to find a new home to move to. They failed him," stated Moore.

She found a copy of Holder's lease and it says the Huntsville Housing Authority should've taken appropriate action.

"This is a part of their checklist the unit must be free of infestation of roaches, mice and bedbugs. If they have done an inspection they would have saw this," explained Moore.

She says she plans to do whatever it takes to make sure the two are taken care of, even if that means suing Huntsville Housing Authority for elderly abuse.

WHNT News 19 reached out to the Huntsville Housing Authority for comment and they said due to the Federal Privacy Act, they are not permitted to discuss a situation regarding tenants.

They went on to say, per the lease, it is the tenant's responsibility "to keep the premises in a clean and safe condition."  Failure to do so is a lease violation and can result in eviction.

Huntsville Housing Authority says they provide regular pest control treatment to all properties on a monthly basis, but tenants with special needs can ask for assistance through the resident services department.

Here's the full statement:

1. Per the lease, it is the tenant's responsibility "[t]o keep the premises, and such other areas as may be assigned to the Tenant for the Tenant's exclusive use, in a clean and safe condition." Failure to do so is a lease violation and can result in eviction, if not cured within the timeframe specified in a Notice to Vacate. HHA uses eviction as a last resort when violations are not addressed.
 
2. HHA provides regular pest control treatment to all HHA properties, through a contract with a professional pest control service, on a monthly basis.
 
3. Pest control treatment is only effective when the tenant keeps the unit in a clean and safe condition. If the tenant does not keep the unit clean, then treatment will not be successful. 
 
4. HHA does not hire and has never hired, anyone to clean an apartment for any tenant. Tenants with special needs can be referred for assistance through our Resident Services department. Tenants are free to accept or reject the services of non-profits, faith-based organizations, or other community organizations that are suggested to them by HHA coordinators.