by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:
CHARLOTTE - Residents in a senior citizen apartment community say their homes are infested with bedbugs.
One resident who lives in the LaSalle at Lincoln Heights complex, an independent living community for the 55 and up, turned to Channel 9 after what they called months of problems.
"One of the gentleman had bed bugs crawling on his shirt," the resident said, who spoke on condition on anonymity.
The resident estimated nearly half of the apartments were infested and was upset the property manager didn't provide the senior residents with a hotel room or other place to go while pest exterminators eradicated the infestation.
"It had such a strong chemical smell, it was making people sick, and one lady passed out and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital," the resident said.
While LaSalle is subsidized housing, it is considered a private apartment community, so neither state Department of Health and Human Services regulators nor Mecklenburg County health officials have jurisdiction to inspect the property.
The resident said the property management company instructed them not to speak to reporters, but said they decided to stand up for others who live there.
"They're pretty much intimidated and no one wants to speak up because you could get evicted," the resident said. "It's like we are being taken advantage of, like we are being treated, like you know, second-class citizens."
A spokeswoman for Excel Management, a Raleigh-based company who owns LaSalle, refused an on-camera interview and a phone interview.
She also refused to provide a written statement or answer any questions.
The spokeswoman did say the safety of their residents is a top priority and they are working to fix the problem.