ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KTVI) – A St. Louis family says the county housing authority moved them into a home infested with mice and bugs after a virtual inspection.
The St. Louis County Housing Authority is conducting virtual inspections because of the COVID-19 pandemic and didn’t see the trouble beforehand.
Robert Jones and his three teenaged children moved into the upstairs part of a south St. Louis County house in August and encountered problems right away. They recorded a video of the mice hiding in closets and bugs scattering throughout the house.
“I believe if they would have came in here first and seen how this place looked, they wouldn’t have let me move in,” Jones said.
On the video, Jones shows several baby mice on the floor that had been in a closet.
“My daughter was getting some socks out of the closet, she went and got the bag of socks, and when she opened the bag up, a mouse jumped out,” he said. “She jumped back … and a little bitty mouse fell on the floor. They went through the bag and there were a bunch of baby mice. Mice just laid babies inside my bag.”
Jones said on another occasion that his daughter was doing homework, and a mouse “came up from the bottom of the couch and jumped on top of her.” When the cushions were removed, they found more mice inside the couch, he said.
Jones also said he’s sprayed bugs and scooped up bagfuls of them, which roam the floors, kitchen counters, bathroom and other places.
“My son, you know, he scared me because he sleeps in the bed with tissue inside his ears because he’s so scared a bug is going to crawl in his ear,” said Jones, who said he can’t afford to move out of the unit.
Susan Rollins, the housing authority’s executive director, said “it’s possible” that a physical inspection instead of a virtual one would have caught the problems.
“HUD is saying that we can do inspections where the landlord is taking pictures of the unit and telling us the unit is perfect, but you always run into this scenario where the landlord might not be giving you the correct information,” Rollins said.
The St. Louis County Housing Authority said they plan to cover the cost of moving the family out of the infested home and into a better one.