I have bats in my belfry! How can I inspire action from my condo association?
June 22, 2009 1:44 PM Subscribe
Bats are living (and excreting) in the attic of my condo unit. I first noticed them in Sept 08, and immediately contacted my property management company for removal and cleaning. Since then, I've called every 2-3 weeks and attended two HOA meetings to bring up the issue. I keep getting excuses or brushed off. How can I motivate them to ACTUALLY remove the bats, protect my unit from further infestation and clean the insulation?
posted by steeb2er to home & garden (8 answers total)
Long story: I bought my condo in Jan 08. During inspection (before buying), the inspector found evidence of bats in the attic. This became a negotiating point with the previous owner. The HOA / property managers trapped the bats, removed the insulation, cleaned the attic and installed new insulation. But it appears they did not properly prevent the bats from re-entering the attic.
In July 08, a bat was in my unit. He was removed by the local police without incident, and I thought nothing of it (in hindsight, he probably got into the unit from the attic via recessed lighting in the main room). In Sept 08, I put some things into storage in the attic and noticed a large amount of bat droppings. I contacted the property managers immediately. They investigated the original trapping work order and discovered what I already knew: Bats had been trapped, attic had not been sealed. I requested they do the work again, they told me they'd need new quotes and HOA approval. In March 09, the property managers sent one insulator out to my unit to provide a quote. In May 09, the property managers told me that they would need to wait until "mosquito season in late May" to properly trap and remove the bats. It's now late June and nothing has happened. My last three calls haven't been answered, nor my voicemails returned. At meetings, the HOA didn't seem particularly concerned. The HOA claims that bat droppings aren't a health concern, but articles online say they can transmit several diseases and parasites (I'm particularly concerned because my wife is 'of child-bearing age', though not currently pregnant and we have no kids).
No additional bats have been found inside the living space of my unit. No one has been bitten. Now that it's hot and humid, the kitchen and laundry room (directly under where the bats are living) stink with bat droppings. I need to get back into the attic to trade summer and winter clothes, but I'm nervous about it. I've been keeping "good" records of this whole process including who I've spoken to, when, what resulted, etc. and I've kept all my cell phone records as "evidence".
What can I do? Can I stop paying some or all of my association fees? (I've read articles online that HOA have foreclosed on homes or sold them at auction because of non-payment of dues, so I'm very skeptical) Should I write an mean letter? Do I need to call a lawyer? Could I go to small claims court?