Justice Bugged: 79-year-old client gets a reprieve

They say not to let the bedbugs bite, but a longtime client contacted us after learning that his landlord would not renew his lease due to a bedbug infestation and an unauthorized occupant. The client, who is almost 80 years old, loved his Philadelphia apartment located near his doctors and friends. He didn’t want to move. We quickly determined he was physically unable to comply with the long list of tasks the exterminator required before treating the apartment. We convened a meeting with the landlord’s representatives, subsidy provider, property manager, the client’s case manager, and the client. The property manager came prepared to not renew the lease, but our vigorous advocacy changed her mind. The team worked hard to meet the terms for lease renewal. The extensive preparations were finally completed and a date was set for the extermination. The client convinced his longtime friend to move out of the apartment and we closed the case, thinking our work was done.But less than a month later, the client contacted our office again. He had received a formal Notice to Vacate, with a threat that a lawsuit would soon be filed, because his friend allegedly was living in his unit again. The client was adamant that his friend had visited him but did not live there, and our investigation confirmed that the friend resided with his sister. We sent a strongly worded letter to the property management company, and in the end the Notice to Vacate was revoked and our client’s lease was renewed. As an added bonus, now that the bedbug infestation is gone, his home health aides have returned and resumed therapeutic treatments.