RALEIGH, N.C. — Rats, mold and electrical hazards are just three of several violations that city inspectors found at a rental property in Raleigh.
Renter Tnisha Wilson said the issues at the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home at 2422 Ellerbe Lane have lasted for nearly three years.
The only reason Wilson has stayed so long is because her criminal history disqualifies her from most rentals.
“This is my only option because I have a charge on my background,” said Wilson, who is a mother of three children ages 10, 6 and 8 months.
In July, came the final straw. A rat bit Wilson’s infant.
“It ran past me and I was trying to grab my baby, but before I could grab my baby, it bit his leg and I had to take him to the hospital,” Wilson said.
Since then, Wilson has paid rent and paid for hotels, hoping her landlord would exterminate the place.
“Some nights, I have to sleep in my car with all three of my kids, have my kids cry, they have to use a bathroom, so now I have to find a store and I have to figure it out,” Wilson said. “Basically, because he doesn’t want to fix nothing and I have a whole house.”
Landlord Bhola Gupta decided to evict Wilson and her three children because he claimed the family missed their November rent payment of $1,900.
Wilson claims she hand-delivered a $1,900 check to the Gupta’s home in Raleigh. She also said she’s willing to pay the rent.
WRAL Investigates spoke with Gupta and his daughter Angela over the phone. He did not dispute the rats have been around for around the last year and a half.
“I am not disputing,” Gupta said. “If the city has said something about the rats, we will definitely take care of it.”
The Guptas deny receiving complaints from Wilson directly. They say Wilson often left out dog food and didn’t clean up dog feces, which attracted the rodents.
Wilson provided WRAL Investigates with some emails of recent complaints. She also said she called and sent letters initially. She said the problems have multiplied.
“I have a gas leak,” she said of her issues. “The rats ate my son’s baby food. The plumbing is horrible. When you flush the toilet, it goes in my tub.”
Records with the city of Raleigh show four failed inspections and 25 citations since 2021. It includes 11 violations this month for rodent infestation, roof damage, faulty plumbing and wall cracks and holes.
Gupta said he was not proud of the living conditions at the home. He also did not take blame for the home’s condition.
“Why should I be proud when the house is so filthy?” Gupta said. “Why should I be proud of such a filthy house?”
Wilson said she has cleaned the home and had cleaners come in.
“I am very upset,” Wilson said. “It’s very upsetting. I am trembling right now.”
Wilson and her children’s belongings are in their car, their new home.
“We don’t know where we are going to go besides the car tonight,” Wilson said.
An inspector just visited the property on Dec. 7. The city is working on a more detailed report about the property, which is expected to be released later this week.
If the home remains vacant, the city said the owners have a year to come into compliance.