NEW WINDSOR – Cheryl Greene woke up around 2:30 am with an insect bite and found several bed bugs on the edge of her mattress. She took the mattress out of her apartment and threw it in the trash. On Monday she received notice of termination of the tenancy.
Greene said she lived in New Windsor Senior Housing for two years and had never seen a bug until her neighbour’s unit was infected three months ago.
“It’s not my fault. You run the building and you are responsible for it. I have to sleep with the lights on now,” Greene said, referring to the property management company.
The notice alleged that their act “posed a threat to the health and safety of other residents and could cause bed bugs to break out in the building”. However, she said the caretaker said “I don’t care” when she inquired about the news Tuesday.
Yvonne Maldonado, whose mother also lives in the building, said she heard six other residents complain about similar issues. Although the pesticide spray was used on the infected units, she is concerned that the treatment is not thorough enough.
“They kill the affected units, but the bugs go elsewhere because they don’t cover the entire area. We are concerned the problem persists, ”said Maldonado.
A family member of a tenant who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation said it was “horrible” to see his mother having bug bites on her arms a few months after moving into the building years ago.
“My mother is in her eighties. We had to pack everything up and go through bags. At her age it is not only a physical problem but also a mental one, ”he said.
The complex at 2115 Senior Court is operated by Devon Management, which manages 20 properties across the Hudson Valley. Paul Gratzel, chief operating officer, said the company is “proud of the housing available across the region and takes issues like bed bugs seriously.”
Gratzel added that only a few units out of more than 90 units in the building are affected.
“We are not sloppy. We do not spray or treat areas that do not need to be treated as it is not prudent, especially given the covid pandemic that many tenants do not want us in their units, ”said Gratzel. “Once you have a tenant who brings bedbugs, there is a greater chance they will be reintroduced if tenants haven’t changed their practice.”
Warden George Meyers said the property management company followed city regulations by exterminating the affected area. The city’s construction department had responded to two complaints, and the furniture that the insects could have brought had been removed.
“They responded by calling Annihilators, but it still goes on. If you eradicate something and it keeps coming back, of course you have to do something else, ”said Meyers.