Residents say brownouts and blackouts are common and apartments become stifling.
The tenants of the Bedford Station, Victoria Station, and Newbury Square apartment complexes filed complaints with Prince George's County Thursday alleging dozens of code violations.
At a rally before a meeting with the apartments' management Wednesday, a man with a bullhorn asks his fellow protesters in Spanish if they want to keep living with bedbugs, rats or roaches. Approximately 100 tenants of three Langley Park apartment complexes are in attendance, and they claim their apartments are overrun by vermin.
Living for years with bedbugs
David Fraser has lived here for two years, and has had to keep changing where he sleeps due to bedbugs.
"They were in the bedroom, so I moved to the living room," he says. "So they came to the living room so I had to sleep inside my car." Fraser pays $930 per month for his one bedroom apartment. But as he wryly points out, "the bedbugs are living for free."
The apartment buildings are under court receivership after the original owner defaulted.
Many tenants say a succession of management companies has failed to address maintenance issues, including frequent power outages, mold, and broken appliances and fixtures.
Tenants: Management hasn't cleaned up mold
Tenant Ashley Baily shows a kitchen cabinet that has turned black inside with mold and a bathroom ceiling full of holes and leaks.
"I think it's like three years ago, and they don't come and fix it," she says of the black mold and the water leak that's causing it.
George Van Beesen's company took over the management of the Bedford Station, Victoria Station and Newbury Square apartments in January and says he has moved to fix outstanding issues.
Management: 'we have no code violations'
"We're making the repairs that are reported to us," he says. "That's the frustrating part, because they are not reporting to us that they need repairs.
"We are current and have no county or city code violations," he says.
But when Beesen offered that explanation to tenants during a town hall meeting Wednesday night, the reaction was an uproar.
Angry tenants ended the meeting abruptly, and Thursday they filed complaints with Prince Georges County. They say they hope that will improve conditions.