2011-08-12 / Top Stories

Residents: Surfside Infested With Bedbugs

Charge Management Cover-Up
By Howard Schwach

The three-building Surfside complex on Shore Front Parkway has become infested with bedbugs, and the management is attempting to cover up that fact, several tenants charge.

The tenants, who asked not to be identified because they fear retribution from officials of Alma Realty, the owner and manger of the building, including sanctions and eviction.

One single mother told The Wave this week that she first noticed that her young son had small bites all over his body about two weeks ago.

After he went to live with his father for a time, he came home and the bites were gone.

“I thought they were prickly heat,” the mother said. “I didn’t worry about them too much.”

Soon after he came back to Surfside, however, the bites returned. It was then that she noticed that her daughter had the bites as well.

“I checked the bed and the couch, and found bedbugs all over.”

She called the management office, and an exterminator came and found lots of the tiny bugs both in her beds and her furniture.

“He steam cleaned and filled the walls with a chemical,” she said. “I had to throw out all of my bedding and most of my clothes and the kid’s clothes as well.”

In an off-hand remark, she asked the exterminator, who works for the complex, which includes 1 Beach 105 Street, 106-20 Shore Front Parkway and 107-10 Shore Front Parkway, if any other tenants had the bugs.

His answer shocked her. He said that many of the apartments had bedbugs and he was busy exterminating a couple of apartments each month.

Several other tenants told similar stories about multiple treatments and the loss of household items and clothing.

By speaking to her neighbors, she found at least three others on her floor that had the infestation and had the exterminator.

The single mom went on the Internet and found that the management had the obligation to notify tenants that there was a bedbug infestation in the buildings.

When she called management to complain, she was told that it had no obligation to notify anybody, including new residents renting empty apartments that had been treated.

When she asked for another, empty apartment to stay in with her kids until hers was finally cleaned, she was refused.

“We’re not moving your problem to another apartment,” she says she was told.

Management also refused to help her move her discarded bedding and clothing out of the apartment.

“We don’t have to do anything at all,” she says she was told. “If you want, when the exterminator is done, we’ll repaint your apartment.”

New York City has a regulation that owners have to disclose to new tenants that there has been a remediation of a bedbug problem in the home.

For apartment buildings, the regulation says that management has to notify neighboring tenants as well as new tenants.

The Surfside tenants say that this was not done and, in fact, the management worked hard to keep all bedbug exterminations a secret.

My kids were bitten and they never told us about the bedbugs,” one tenant said. “Their actions were irresponsible and illegal. People who live here should know, and new tenants should be told. That is the law, and they didn’t follow the law.”

Alma Realty offices in Northern Queens did not return calls for comment on this story.

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