Public health inspectors, following up on at least a half-dozen complaints about rodent infestation, bedbugs and a faulty elevator from tenants of the Castaic Lake Senior Living Apartments, went door to door Friday asking tenants about their concerns and, specifically, about bedbugs.
Reports of bedbugs at the non-licensed apartment building on Castaic Road surfaced this week when tenants complained to public health officials about closure of the pool. As a “non-licensed” complex, it’s not licensed as a senior living facility, but rather an apartment building marketed to seniors.
“Health inspectors went out today investigating complaints about bedbugs,” Tony Bell, spokesman for Supervisor Kathryn Barger, said Friday.
Repeated efforts to reach managers of the apartment building, FPI Management, Thursday and Friday by phone and by social media were unsuccessful.
This is what health inspectors found Friday, according to Katie, a public health spokeswoman who would not give her full name.
· A unit with deteriorated flooring in the kitchen, a damaged bathroom sink, peeling paint on the walls and ceilings, and the front door screen was deteriorated.
· A deteriorated window screen on a unit.
· Discarded furniture and appliances near the refuse areas of building 4 and building 8.
· A cockroach near a trash can in the hallway. The tenants of two nearby units were not home and one indicated no problems.
· A washing machine in the laundry room was non-functional.
· Cracks in the walls of the laundry room in building 3.
“The inspector contacted a tenant in one unit who indicated they were being bitten by an unknown source,” Katie said.
“The inspector checked the unit for bedbugs and was unable to identify the source,” she said.
“An inspection report will be issued to the property owner and manager and a re-inspection will be scheduled,” she said.
Inspectors with Los Angeles County inspected the apartment building May 3, after receiving complaints from tenants that they could not use the restrooms in the pool area.
They returned to the building 17 days later after receiving complaints of unapproved “re-plastering” of the pool.
Officials with the Environmental Health section of the Public Health Department put together a list Friday of complaints received from tenants over the past year.
“A review of the database indicates that several complaints were received on this property since June 2018,” said a spokesperson with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health who refused to give their name.
The complaints and the outcome are as follows:
- June 15, 2018, Complaint — Elevator not working, residents getting stuck in the elevator. Residents allowing dogs to urinate and defecate in hallways as they are unable to go down stairs. Investigation revealed no evidence of urine or feces in hallways.
- June 21, 2018, Complaint – Bedbugs. Investigation revealed tenant did not allow entrance to verify complaint in unit.
- Sept. 24, 2018, Complaint – Rodent infestation. Investigation revealed inspector did not see any sign of rodents.
- Oct. 9, 2018, Complaint – Rodents in ivy at parking area. Previously investigated.
- May 3, 2019, Complaint – Unable to access restrooms in pool area at night and on weekends. Phone call to manager to advise to keep restroom open during pool hours.
- May 20, 2019, Complaint – Re-plastering pool without a permit. Investigation revealed re-plastering of pool without a permit. Pool closed.
Broken washing machines
It was the broken washing machines and hefty rent increases that convinced 82-year-old Sylvia Brackebush to move out of the building after six years.
“We moved her out of there in March,” Brackebush’s daughter, Stayci Donihue, said Friday.
“She couldn’t do her laundry for a year,” she said. “Six years ago, the staff was so sweet, and for the first three years, it was fine.”
When she moved in six years ago, her mother was paying $800 per month rent. Her rent in March was $1,300, she said.
A tenant, who wanted to be referred to as DAM, said she was afraid to give her full name for fear of retaliation.
DAM said health officials sprayed the apartments six months ago for bedbugs.
“The elevator is always out,” she said. “They fix it and it breaks down.”