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ZedStarchild

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  1. Hello, I am a tenant on SSDI who has been leasing an apartment since March 2015. IN the month of November I was informed I have bedbugs as per an inspection I had prior notice of. I had neither seen nor been bitten or had any evidence that I could discern of bedbugs at this time. My rental agreement signed March provided an addendum on bedbugs, and according to that if I knowingly brought in bedbugs I would be responsible for reporting this problem and would be responsible for paying to exterminate. I neither knowingly brought them in nor had seen evidence to report them in the required 48 hour grace period. In fact, I had just returned from being out of town for almost two weeks and at that time had no issues and only when I returned (and no one besides management had access to my apartment in that time) was there any issue brought to my attention. I was then informed there would be a "heat treatment" done to exterminate these bugs though no one could give me, or would give me any idea when. I was quoted by my property manager the price would be $600 which she said I would have to pay, contrary to what my lease says.(Later on she claimed it would be $835 and denied ever quoting me the $600 figure, yet my mother who serves as my payee for SSDI and handles my finances was there the time the $600 figure was quoted and is thus a witness. I was told this could be broken up into payments but again, I am on a fixed income and am paying $650 in rent (which was supposed to be $597 originally but this is another issue) and I make $750 a month ($834 gross but I have had money taken out for an outstanding student loan since 2012; management was aware of this). I cannot afford any type of payment and furthermore as per the terms of my lease I should not be responsible. Based on my subsequent research on bedbugs (which I had no experience with before this) I am now aware they can lay dormant for a full year before feeding and reproducing. Therefore it is conceivable they could have been here in a dormant state a year previous, at which time I not only did not live here, but didn't even live in this city. I feel I am being railroaded and harassed to make payments for a solution to an issue I did not create. My lease is up February 29 and my trust and working relationship with management is so low I refuse to renew my lease, and in fact for other reasons may be leaving town altogether. What scares me is that if they continue to pursue this, and out of principle and financial lack of resources I refuse/cannot pay, this will be a serious black mark on my rental history and I will not be able to rent anywhere else in the future. I need to somehow prevent this but I do not know what my rights are or how to go about it. I have tried contacting legal aid in my area; they are severely backlogged and cannot attend to my issues and concerns. While I could go down in person to talk to legal aid, my mental disability leads me to be very confused, overwhelmed and a frequent victim of panic attacks and I would need someone with me. At present I have no one who can go with me to do this. I could utilize my case management through my mental health provider, some suggest, but they have also been ineffective in matters even relating to my mental health let alone anything like this. I am in desperate need of some advice. Please help.
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