Landlord to fix Cheektowaga rat infestation

Posted at 5:55 PM, Feb 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 07:16:47-05

The landlord at Garden Village Apartments in Cheektowaga has agreed to eliminate a rat infestation. 

According to the Erie County Department of Health, officials met with Matthew Cherry on Wednesday. "Once he saw photos from the last three inspections, he seemed to understand the extent of the rat infestation," said Mary St. Mary of the ECDOH.

"Mr. Cherry signed a stipulation agreement that was connected with the latest fine. This means he is now accountable in writing to make all necessary corrections and maintain the property up to expected standards. In addition, he agreed to step up baiting efforts and increase enforcement to ensure dumpster doors and lids are closed and any garbage on the ground is removed immediately."

According to the ECDOH, Garden Village has a professional exterminator coming to the apartments every two days to bait and inspect.

The following statement was released to 7 Eyewitness News from Cherry's attorney.

“The Landlord is aware of the situation with respect to rats at the Garden Village Apartments and has been working proactively to address the situation. Since late in December, a licensed professional extermination company has been implementing a rodent control program with bait boxes and site visits on a very regular basis and as often as every other day. The extermination company has advised the Landlord that the rodent control program is working and it will continue until the situation has been resolved. Additionally, dumpsters have been replaced by Modern Disposal at the request of the property manager and gates, etc. have been repaired.

The tenants of the property have been notified of the need to ensure garbage is properly placed in dumpsters and that the lids are closed, which is required per the rules and regulations for the property. Tenants will continue be reminded of the need to dispose of garbage properly. The property manager has been inspecting all dumpsters and nearby areas at the beginning and the end of every day to ensure no garbage is left outside dumpsters or nearby and there has been increased compliance with proper disposal of garbage.

The Garden Village Apartments was purchased in May of 2014 since its acquisition, the Landlord has invested more than $1,500,000 in addressing deferred maintenance that existed as the time of acquisition. After the time of acquisition, the Landlord was made aware of the high number of police calls to the property and as a result of the effort to replace problematic tenants with good tenants, the number of police calls and the safety of the tenants has improved dramatically and this can be verified by the Town of Cheektowaga Police Department.  The Landlord purchased the property to own it on a long-term basis and has a strong incentive to provide safe and high quality housing to the residents.

In conclusion, the Landlord has been and remains committed to its continued effort to eradicate the rodent situation and this is best evidenced by the proactive effort that has been made since the Landlord became aware of the situation in late December.” 

7 Eyewitness News spoke with attorney Amil Sarfraz, who is not connected to the situation in Cheektowaga.

Sarfraz says in general, if a tenant is in a dispute with their landlord over an issue like this, they need to provide the landlord with written notice of the issue and that they plan to stop paying rent.

A landlord will likely proceed with the eviction process which can be resolved in city/town housing court.

Sarfraz has detailed the process on his website.