DENVER — The owner of the apartment complex, Pembrooke on the Green, is under court-supervised probation for 24 months after pleading guilty to rodent related charges stemming from a rat problem that surfaced last summer.
According to court documents filed last month, the owner of Pembrooke pleaded guilty to four charges including failing to keep property free of pests, failing to maintain clean dwellings, and failure to keep dumpsters free of rodents.
Along with two years of supervised probation, the property was fined $3,996 and is required to follow a Rodent Management Plan.
Darren Everett, President of BLDG Management, the property group responsible for Pembrooke on the Green, said the company has paid around $20,000 in health code and court fines. They have also hired a pest control company.
"We've implemented a rodent management plan which is comprised of a multi-prong approach which is bait stations with a vendor that is called ECO labs," Everett said.
Pembrooke on the Green had more than a dozen rodent complaints since the beginning of last year, according to Ann Williams, Deputy Executive Director of Denver Public Health and Environment.
The property failed several inspections since April while under investigation by the city, Williams said.
"The case we are seeing at Pembrooke is definitely one of the most egregious cases of non-responsiveness and non-compliance that my department has seen in recent history," she said. "We had members of our public health enforcement team on-site there, at least once a week, every week."
Monica and Rodolfo Ramirez, former tenants at Pembrooke on the Green, sent 9NEWS videos and photos of rats inside their apartment in February of this year. The said they had to kill a rat using a screwdriver and baseball bat.
Denver Public Health and Environment said it needed to use extreme measures and increased fines of up to $999 a day to get the property owner to clean up.
“In cases like this, it takes multiple conversations and court, and fines, and fortunately we finally got that positive movement,” said Williams.
BLDG Management said to control the rat problem, it installed a concrete slab on the property to cover an area where the rodents had formed a large nest.
Everett said the total cost to fix the problem has been around $120,000.
"I would say it wasn't the health department or the fines that made the change out here. They were certainly part of the process but to be clear, this is what we were going to do, with our without them, because this is how we operate properties, is in a quality manner," said Everett.
BLDG Management told 9NEWS it manages 26 properties including commercial developments. In total, about 14,000 renters in Colorado are tenants of the property management company.
Denver city officials encourage any renters who are not getting a response from landlords about problems related to health and safety to call 311.
"We need to hear from the residents first. Then we will absolutely hold the property management companies, the property owners responsible and accountable for what we're seeing onsite," Williams said.
"We appreciate you doing the story, letting people know that they can, and should call us, and be responsive."
What a renter can do about a rat problem
There is a Colorado statute called the Warranty of Habitability Act. Under this act, when a tenant rents an apartment, it’s expected that the landlord keeps the property in a livable condition. That would include things like heat, locking doors, working appliances, and free of mold and rodents among other conditions.
If you find yourself in a rodent situation with your landlord and are not getting answers, you can file a complaint online or by calling 311, if you live in Denver.
Outside of Denver, complaints are handled by specific counties. Contact your county and city to learn how to make reports against landlords.
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