Watervliet resident says mice infested apartment is unlivable

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Disgusting and unlivable is how one person describes the state of their apartment at the Edwin Joslin Apartments in Watervliet.

Pictures taken inside show mouse droppings scattered everywhere. The mice feast on the children’s clothes, and a trip to their doctor, shows evidence the home is infested with mice. The resident said they want to remain anonymous because they’re afraid of the backlash. They say they’ve tried everything from calling the mayor’s office, consulting with legal aid, and reaching out to code enforcement.

The Executive Director of United Tenants of Albany, Canyon Ryan said federal law dictates that housing authority control their own maintenance, and it’s not up to code enforcement.

“So tenants are essentially gas lit to the extent of which they withhold rent, they can get kicked out and lose what is essentially the golden ticket of affordable housing, and if they fight too much they can lose that ticket, and if they don’t fight, they have to live in misery, or their kids are getting sick, or they’re essentially being evicted by infestations, not by the landlords, so it’s a catch 22,” he said.

While speaking with one resident, several other have since spoken out saying they’re experiencing the same issues. One person said they were even charged for the glue traps management gave them.

Canyon recommended tenants rally together to get changes made.

”Public housing tenants deserve a mechanism to get their rights addressed, and if the public housing authority is not going to address them, there should be a way to utilize code enforcement so that there is an independent review,” he said.

The Watervliet Housing Authority sent the following statement:

The Watervliet Housing Authority is aware of the complaints from the resident and our contracted pest control company has been at the unit several times in the past and as recently as today. Each time the unit has been inspected by the pest control company in the past, no evidence of infestation was found.  We are continuing to work with the pest control company to address the complaint of the resident.   If an issue is discovered, we will work quickly to remedy the issue, to ensure the unit is safe and sanitary for the family to reside there.