Elderly woman evicted after complaining about cockroaches

A 73-year-old woman says her rental property is infested with cockroaches. She says they have been there since she moved in three years ago, and her landlord has done little to help.

This tenant, Diane Harley, says, “His explanation was, we live in the South, so there’s a lot of palmetto bugs. I told him they were not palmetto bugs and they were here before I moved anything into the trailer.”

They are in the cabinets, the refrigerator, and crawling on the walls.

Harley says, “I’ll be sitting at a table and some will just drop down from the ceiling.”

She tried to kill them herself using bug bombs and spray, but she is going through chemotherapy treatment for lymphoma and now those products, and the roaches themselves, are a hazard to her health.

Harley says, “It’s not sanitary and that’s the whole thing. Right now my health is compromised because of the treatments that I’m going through.”

News 2 called her landlord, Joe Nutall, and he says the bugs aren’t his problem.

He says, “She’s responsible for her bugs. We delivered it to her without bugs and really I just don’t want to get involved with the media about this.”

But that’s not all, Harley says she has numerous leaks from windows and doors that haven’t been fixed. When her dishwasher leaked, the floor was not inspected, and she fell through a weak spot.

Harley says, “I did scrape my leg on the floor and it was like that for a few months until my son-in-law could take some time to come and at his expense he bought some new flooring and covered up the floor.”

Her landlord claims he didn’t know.

Nutall says, “It was basically bad communication on her part about problems that she had.”

Harley said she would only tell the landlord one time about the issues, because that’s all it should take.

She says, “But he said, ‘Well you have to keep on me. I have a lot of properties and you have to keep on me so I don’t forget these things’.”

Things weren’t getting better, so Harley sent the landlord a letter telling him she was going to stop paying rent until the things were fixed.

She says, “I don’t want to pay rent for the living conditions that I’m living in.”

The landlord took her to court and a judge ruled that if Harley does not pay rent, she has to leave in 10 days.

She says, “I’m strictly on Social Security, and the cheapest place that I have been able to find for even a one bedroom apartment is more than $700 a month.”

She says she has no where to go.

Harley says, “I do want to get out because I don’t think there is anything they can do to make this particular unit habitable.”

She says she is on waiting lists for senior housing in the county, so she is praying  spot opens up before she is forced out of the home in North Charleston.

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