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Boston Condo Was Home to Hundreds of Rats

By Chris Williams on October 26, 2015.

Condo Unit 3R at 124 Beacon Street in Boston was hardly a place you’d want to call home even though it’s located in one of Boston’s most famous neighborhoods near the Boston Public Gardens and just an 11-minute walk from the State House. Last July, the $600,000 condo was condemned as being “not fit for human habitation.” It took a biohazard cleaning company three weeks to demolish it down to the studs.

Rats Don’t Make Good Neighbors

What was going on in Unit 3R? That’s what the neighbor directly below wanted to know. During a July inspection by the Boston Inspectional Services, rodents could be heard screeching and running. One hundred rats were removed from the unit. A pest control company later found 20 dead rats during a 30-minute inspection and said that “there were scores more remaining.” When the biohazard team cleaned out the unit, they found rats that were almost tame and sunflower seed shells scattered throughout the condo, suggesting that the tenant was feeding the rats, trying to domesticate them. A civil complaint included 82 pages of photos of conditions in the unit, showing a condo full of dead rats, with stacks of VHS tapes and TV Guides.

The owner of the unit lives in Cambridge and had not been inside the home since 2002. She said her 49 year-old son had been living there for 15 years, but had not ventured outside of the unit in more than 7 years due to a fear of crowds and open spaces. She would leave food and other items outside the door for her son.

Downstairs Neighbor Asked for Monetary Compensation

During the cleanup, the tenant below the rat unit had to vacate because of an “overwhelmingly strong odor of rat urine and decay” that permeated through the common areas and into other units. Her unit also suffered damage from dust infiltration and debris as a result of the work above. Her resulting lawsuit asked for damages in excess of $300,000 from the owner of Unit 3R.

Soon after the rat infestation was discovered, the son was transported to a local hospital but was later released and relocated to a nearby hotel. The building’s condo owners’ association was successful in prohibiting the owner or her son from re-inhabiting the unit. The owner, who had no homeowner’s insurance, signed an affidavit that she had no knowledge of conditions inside the unit and was not responsible. The downstairs neighbor was granted a writ of attachment on the property in the amount of $150,000.

[Source: MassLive.com, Gintautas Dumcius, August 27, 2015]

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