WL inspectors visit home with rodent droppings, etc., management blames tenants

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – West Lafayette inspectors found problems at a rental house Tuesday. The same house where Monday a rental management company refused to let a group of Purdue students break their lease.

News 18 made a visit to the home and captured on camera — smoke detectors without batteries, windows that wouldn’t open, doors without handles and rodent droppings throughout.

Less than 24 hours after dog hair and rodent droppings littered the home on the 400 block of Salisbury Street, the floors were still wet from cleaning with an aroma of lemons in the air. This came despite BK Management telling News 18 Monday the house was already clean.

“Our cleaning crew came last week to clean, but they weren’t able to do a final clean job because there was no water,” said Neil Klemme with BK Management. “So they got all of the previous tenants’ trash out, all of the dust knocked off of it, but not a hundred percent clean because there wasn’t water.

Even still, according to tenant Hannah Thomas, the cleaning crew left a dirty slow cooker and trash under the sink, doors without handles and smoke detectors without batteries.

Klemme said the water wasn’t on because the tenants declined a payment arrangement to keep the utilities on before they moved in.

“These tenants chose to have the utilities in their name, so they didn’t get the water turned on in time,” he said.

Thomas said with or without water, that excuse is not acceptable.

“They could have at least wiped the dog hair and cleaned the carpets and tried to clean up the rat and mice feces that were everywhere and in the kitchen stove and drawers,” said Thomas.

West Lafayette Housing Program director Dale Dixon inspected the home Tuesday, much sooner than when a typical complaint is made.

“We notify the landlord and within 10 days, we’re in the property to do the inspection,” said Dixon. “The way this one worked out, they got right on it and scheduled us the next day.”

BK Management repaired some of the problems addressed during Tuesday’s inspection, including some exposed wiring and a lack of door knobs.

But Thomas tells News 18, it hasn’t erased her concerns.

“We still do not feel the home is safe,” Thomas said. “The posts in the basement that’s holding the home up is a big concern to us. The mold is a big concern and the ventilation. For us, we don’t feel comfortable living here and we won’t.”

BK Management refused Monday to let Thomas and her roommates out of their lease if the inspector found no issues, even though Thomas said they were willing to give up their security deposit.

BK Management offered Tuesday to switch their lease to another property, but Thomas said the damage has already been done.

“When the landlord reassures you that the house will be in proper condition when you move, as stated on our lease, then you kind of take trust in that. But when it’s proven that here that it has not been done, that’s when I lost some trust,” said Thomas.

Dixon said the city gets about 20 property complaints a year.

It could take two to three days to determine if the house is up to code.

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