An apartment building in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side is being sued by a tenant who claims the building was infested with bed bugs.
Renetta Harrington alleges her second-floor unit at the apartment building, at 4703 W. Maypole Ave., was infested with bed bugs and was unsanitary and unfit to be occupied, according to a negligence lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.
Since as early as November 2012, Harrington’s unit, which she shared with her son, and common areas of the apartment have become overwhelmed by the small insect that feeds exclusively on human and animal blood. The bug often “hitches a ride” in peoples’ luggage and in clothing, and can live for up to 10 months in mattresses, bedding, box springs, under loose wallpaper and inside furniture, according to the lawsuit.
The bed bugs in Harrington’s unit repeatedly bit her and her son, drawing blood and leaving bite marks on their bodies, the suit claims. The bugs also left waste on their clothes and throughout the apartment.
Harrington alleges in the suit that on “numerous occasions” she informed the building owners, Jamgar LLC and North Star Trust Company, of the beg bug infestation.
But, according to the suit, the property owners failed to take necessary steps to prevent the infestation from spreading; failed to clean and properly maintain the building; failed to exterminate the bed bugs before they spread to Harrington’s unit; and, among other things, failed to warn her and her son of the dangerous condition and infestation of an adjacent unit.
Harrington and her son were forced to destroy or dispose of personal property, including furniture and clothing, to eradicate the insects and larvae, the suit claims.
Jamgar LLC and North Start Trust Company are both listed as defendants in the lawsuit.
The five-count lawsuit claims negligence, nuisance, violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, breach of implied warranty of habitability and violation of the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance.
Harrington is seeking at least $500,000 in damages, according to the suit.
Neither a representative from Jamgar LLC nor North Star Trust Company could be reached for comment Thursday evening.