Arvada woman says apartment management won’t let her break lease despite roach infestation

ARVADA, Colo. -- The FOX31 Problem Solvers are trying to help an Arvada woman dealing with a cockroach-infested apartment.

Shiela Kelley had only lived in her unit at Arvada Village West with her 4-year-old daughter for a few days when she noticed the bugs.

She’s asked to break her lease and get her $1,400 deposit back, but management refused.

“Where am I supposed to go and where am I supposed to come up with this money?" Kelley said.

She says a note indicated the apartment had been treated, but the roaches kept coming.

"[I] attempted my own using this Diatomaceous Earth because it was not toxic for my daughter. Sprinkled it all around, which is why you see white residue," Kelley said.

A spokesman for Four Star Realty and Property Management replied to FOX31 with an email, which in part said, "We are aware of a cockroach issue at this community and we are resolved to working diligently to reach a full and lasting remediation."

Alex Mumm of Four Star said the company tried to work with Kelley on releasing her from her lease, but she declined.

Kelley told the Problem Solvers she would still possibly owe thousands of dollars.

Real Estate Attorney Eric Nesbitt says tenants can fight back.

“If it is uninhabitable or significantly interferes with the tenant's safety or health, then there’s a right for the tenant to break the lease," he said.

Nesbitt says state laws say tenants must prove conditions are unbearable, give the landlord time to fix the problem and give written notice.

Judges sometimes are required to make decisions on cases like these.

The complex has now put up infestation notices. Kelley says she wishes there were notices in place before she signed her lease.

Kelley has since moved out, but whether she wins her fight against the complex is still unclear.

Learn more about renters' rights through the Apartment Association of Metro Denver's website.

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