In Your Corner: Unwanted Apartment Tenants

By Ryan Elijah

July 29, 2011 Updated Jul 29, 2011 at 7:56 AM EDT

While every apartment complex has had its share of "unwanted tenants", the case at Coventry Court Apartments is a little more unique. A family of raccoons found their way into the building through a hole and have been, to some degree, terrorizing residents and their children by moving around between the walls. Randi Gonzalez snapped a picture of one looking right at her through a vent in her kitchen.

"They're in the walls, my son said 'they're right on top of me', my children slept on the couch and sometimes won't even sleep here.", said Randi Gonzalez.

To be clear, most residents like the property, just not the raccoons. Management responded by sealing openings and left traps, but they found the problem wasn't easy to eliminate.

We spoke with the Indianapolis owner of the apartments and he said the problem is so unique to his units that he had to contact Animal Care and Control to find a plan for capturing the raccoons. He eventually came up with his own solution and he says a mother and 3 babies were captured.

When we were out over a week ago, Randi was still hearing the raccoons, but it's been silent since the family was caught a few days ago. Randi still plans to move out, though other neighbors say they'll stay now that the unwanted tenants are gone. The owner told us the lease is pretty clear about what it takes to break the contract and they feel they did more than enough in this case, including offering transfers to other units. Randi still feels there isn't enough protection for the tenant.

"I don't think there is enough for the tenant, it seems that the owners have all the power", said Gonzalez.

Some feel a next door building vacated by fire last October is drawing animals. That problem is going away soon, with a demolition order issued 2 weeks ago for a vacant building at Fairfield Gardens.

Apartment complexes are basically on their own in this unique
problem, Allen County's Health Department would only respond if rats or bed bugs were present, while Animal Care and control would only respond if it's a public safety issue.. Raccoons qualify, but they wouldn't got into walls like in this case, so a private wildlife or pest control company is really the only option for apartment owners.
Wildlife, including raccoons, fall under the jurisdiction of the state's Department of Natural Resources. That means there are specific guidelines for the removal of animals, like raccoons. The apartment complex owner said he spoke with a man in another state to find a method to finally trap the family of raccoons.

Animal Care and Control told INC that it's fairly common for them to receive complaints about raccoons as they're looking for nesting. They would provide a live trap to assist owners wanting to trap a wild raccoon.

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