Mt. Vernon tenants claim rats have taken over homes

Some tenants at a Mount Vernon apartment complex claim rats have taken over the area, but the landlord has questions about the timing of the complaints.

Residents at 132 South 4th Ave. say the rats that gather in a vacant lot during the day find their way into their apartments at night. The Bryans say they have seen more than a dozen rats inside their apartment in recent months. Sonia Bryan says she has been withholding her rent since June because the landlord refuses to get an exterminator.

The building?s owner, Hopeton Willis, claims the Bryans didn?t complain about the rats until he threatened to evict them for not paying the rent. Willis also claims the Bryans won?t let him try and solve the rat problem.

?I can?t get into the apartment,? Willis said. ?Everybody I sent, they don?t let in. They are the problem.?

Other residents on South 4th Avenue say they are affected by the rats too. Some say they are afraid to leave their homes at night because of the rats.

Willis says the empty lot where the rats gather during the day belongs to the city. City officials couldn?t confirm if the lot belongs to them or not. The mayor?s chief of staff says he plans on looking into the rat problem.

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