207 Johnson Ave. Brooklyn, NY.
My new home for 3 1/2 weeks.
The story begins very simply. It begins with… it begins with the… it umm… well… sigh. That’s a lie. The story doesn’t begin simply at all. The need to simplify all of this is so overwhelmingly powerful the situation has forced me into a fantasy like frame of mind as a defense mechanism to spare my last shreds of sanity. However, for you the reader, I will skip past everything and start with something easy enough to digest, a building. 207 Johnson Ave. Brooklyn, NY.
I was looking for a new home in February 2010 when I came upon this apartment in Bushwick on Craigslist. The building seemed well kept enough when I looked at it and the landlords seemed eager to make the minor repairs I had asked for. When looking at the place I noticed a sign on the hallway wall indicating that an exterminator had been there in December 2009 and at the time I took this as proof that the building owners seemed to regularly maintain their property. Always needing a second opinion for big steps, a friend of mine went back to the apartment later that day with me to see the place. We both agreed it seemed like a good step up from my previous apartment with a vastly superior neighborhood. I had called the person who showed me the place and told him that I was interested in signing the lease. Later that night, while surfing the web, I thought I’d look up the neighborhood to see what amenities I was going to have. By accident, I typed the address of the building into a standard Google search instead of the intended Google Maps.
The results of the search were a little unsettling. The VERY FIRST link to some up from the search was from a website I had previously not heard of before… www.bedbugregistry.com. Obviously, this was really upsetting. I had already made than mental commitment to go ahead with this property and this was really affecting my “new home buzz.” I clicked on the link and came across, what was at the time, the only entry on the page.
The entry read, “Submitted by “Anonymous” on 12/22/2009 Bedbugs became an issue in the building in September 2009. Started in one apartment and spread throughout the building. Landlord initially refused to treat and insisted that tenants remedy the problem. He eventually agreed to send an exterminator. Exterminator did not have experience with bedbugs and was using store-bought, not professional, insecticide and the problem did not improve. Landlord sent a different exterminator who appeared to be more qualified, but would report that he had treated the entire building when he had only treated a portion of it. Landlord refuses to hire a qualified professional to treat the problem, which has spread through all units in the building. Problem has not improved in 3 months of inadequate treatment.“
The next morning I went into the landlord’s office and asked a very direct question about the post on BedBugReport.com. I was told that the problem had been addressed and that the bed bug issue had completely been taken care of. The landlord went on to explain that the previous tenant in my unit refused to cooperate and didn’t follow procedures correctly when they were originally trying to exterminate the building. At this point I had two opposing arguments with two entities I didn’t know and I had no reason to believe one over the other. The day before, I spoke with some of the tenants and asked if they had any issues with the landlords. They told me they were happy in the building and that the landlord seemed attentive to problems. Positive tenant response, a seemingly responsive landlord, and posted signage led me to think maybe the person posting on BedBugRegistry.com was in fact unreasonable. Based on that I made my decision to sign the lease. Little did I know that the landlord was a profoundly good liar and the two tenants I spoke with were completely insane.
I had made a horrible mistake.