An itching issue for Kentway Apartments residents

Alex Delaney-Gesing

The itching topic of bed bugs was the cause for a Kentway Apartments community meeting Wednesday.

More than 40 residents gathered in the Summit Street apartment complex common area to voice their mixed views on whether or not there really is a bug problem to management, the residential exterminator, and local attorneys.

“As a tenant in an apartment complex, you have certain rights,” said Colin Meeker, an attorney with Blakemore, Meeker & Bowler Co.. “One of those rights is to live in a pest-free environment.”

After responding to one tenant’s complaint of bedbugs in her apartment two weeks ago, attorneys from the Akron-based firm filed a public records request with the City of Kent Health Department.

Reports showed the apartment complex’s bed bug issue has been present for the last year, according to Meeker.

Then, only the low-rise complex was affected. More recently, five out of the seven floors have seen bug activity.

“I know that there have been efforts since at least last summer to address the situation,” Meeker said.” (But) I’m not sure if those efforts have been correct methods because it obviously hasn’t corrected the problem.”

According to Steve Boyles, manager of the apartment complex, most of the bug complaints brought forth by tenants have been within the last four months. All have been addressed, he said.

“We have a record of how many times bed bugs have been reported, when it’s been treated, (and) how much time it’s taken,” he said. “I know of maybe five or six apartments out of 140-apartments that have had bed bugs.”

Mark Lawrentz, manager of City Pest Control in Akron, has been contracted as the apartment complex’s exterminator since 2015.

“If  you had bedbugs in your unit, we came in and treated your unit..Very easy to contain here,” he said. “Every unit that we’ve treated in this building, there has never been a situation where the insects were not contained within that particular unit”.

Lawrentz assured the residents that—despite disagreements with management—the common area was pest-free because of the precautionary spraying he has done for the last few months.

“Right now, there are no bedbugs,” he said. “I’ve been in here three times. Probably once a month for the last three months. Never seen a bedbug.”

Meeker expressed his firm’s concern for the issue and willingness to work with tenants. However, he emphasized that the firm has already addressed the problem with the landlord and provided notice to correct it.

“We are here for is to give you guys a crutch if you need assistance in informing the landlord and seeing to it that the problem is eliminated,” he said. “If you’re looking for a voice to help you with something like this, I’d be more than happy to tell your landlord your individualized problem.”

 Contact Alex Delaney-Gesing at [email protected]