LACEY, Wash. - Lyndsey Schlarbaum puts on a protective mask before entering her unit at the Summer Ridge Apartments in Lacey.
The place stinks and there are rat droppings everywhere. They are on the floor, on her bed, and even in her baby’s crib. The stuffed animals in that crib have been shredded by rats.
Schlarbaum said, “All I could think of was that could have been my son.”
The mother of a 7-month-old boy first heard the rats last October.
She said, “I noticed chewing and scratching sounds in the walls.”
Schlarbaum and her husband had to chase a rat out of the apartment in November.
She said, “I never thought I could scream that loud.”
After complaints to the property manager, a pest control company was called and maintenance crews sealed up a hole leading to the unit, but the problem never went away.
By Feb. 11, the stench was so great Schlarbaum and her family had to bail out and stay with relatives. A day later a dead rat was found in the power panel of her stove.
Schlarbaum said, “That is where the smell of rotting flesh and death was coming from.”
Schlarbaum doesn't think the landlord did enough to get rid of the rats. She's put up banners and posted blogs about her plight.
KIRO 7 tried calling the property manager in Portland three times, but have not heard from Guardian Real Estate Services.
Schlarbaum would like to be compensated for belongings she can't salvage because they’ve been contaminated by the rodents. The city of Lacey is now involved.
The director of community development said the landlord has hired a new pest control company to set traps, to close openings to the apartment, and to make sure the rats are gone for good.