Friday, July 14, 2006

Orkin Needed?

The Master lives in the Hamilton House. Her apartment is spacious and affordable. She has a pool and gym. She's relatively happy. She's also obsessively clean... even has a cleaning lady.

Imagine her surprise when her apartment suddenly became infested with roaches... for no apparent reason. The Hamilton House, obviously aware of the DC apartment message boards indicating that it was roach infested, provides an exterminator every Thursday. All you need to do is sign-up for it downstairs.

But the service didn't help her much. She decided to pay the exterminator a bit more and remove everything from her cupboards. She's found out from her building manager that the girl in the apartment next to her is a complete slob with food all over the place. The people in the apartment above the slob's apartment are also complaining. Luckily, the slob is moving out in July.

Walking to the post office on M & 20th St., I noticed the Flats on Dupont Circle boasting that their new complex featured "brand new apartments. 100% beautiful. 100% guaranteed." A brand new one bedroom at the Flats will cost you a minimum of $1,710.

Now think about it... the Flats shares a common wall with the Hamilton House. The Hamilton House has roaches.

So I called Orkin. The branch in Forrestville, MD. The woman laughed when I asked if roaches exist in one building and the wall of another building touches it, can we assume the infestation will carry through? "Uh, yes. Of course. Do you want to schedule an inspection?"

More research on the Orkin website brought up the following info about roach infestations-

Cockroaches can wreak havoc on your home. To win the war against cockroaches, here’s what you should know:
  • Entry: Cockroaches can enter your home in many different ways, from the outside through cracks and crevices, vents, sewer and drain pipes, even in grocery bags.
  • Reproduction: Cockroaches reproduce quickly. For every one you see there can be 200 more hiding and multiplying behind your walls.
  • Evasiveness: Because cockroaches are nocturnal, if you’ve seen one, you haven’t seen them all. The few cockroaches you see by day were likely forced out by overcrowding; a possible sign of severe infestation.
  • Do-it-yourself ineffectiveness: Cockroaches are better at hiding than you are at finding them, and their eggs are naturally protected from insecticides. Without special equipment, materials and know-how, it can be a losing battle.

I guess the main warning is to realize that your neighbors (hidden in walls or not) can certainly influence your property value. Also wondering if the fact that luxury, over-priced apartments infested with roaches is bringing us one step closer to the Manhattan real estate market.


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