When she moved into this four-storey building last July in the Caucriauville district of Le Havre, Élise was far from suspecting the hell she was about to experience.
“I had visited two homes: one where there was a lot of work to do, and this one, which was being refurbished”, explains the young woman. “The decision was quick!”.
But before signing, Élise wants to make sure of one thing. “I have a phobia of cockroaches. It’s my obsession, because there were some in my house when I was a child, it’s hell. This is the first question I asked”, continues the mother of the family.
The lessor wants to be reassuring with the future tenant: he is assured that there are no pests, and that, if there have been a few cockroaches in the past, the problem “has been solved for a long time”.
“I inspected every nook and cranny to convince myself of it,” says Élise. And then finally, I told myself that I had to reassure myself and stop harassing everyone with my questions!”
But as soon as her boxes are placed, the Norman will become disillusioned. “The upstairs neighbor came down to see me. And there, she said to me: ‘it’s horrible here, I’m invaded by cockroaches, I’m moving soon so much it has become unmanageable'”.
Supporting photos and videos, the tenant explains to Élise how critical the situation is. And the mother of the family will not be long in realizing it… by herself.
She quickly realizes that the whole building seems to be plagued by these pesky pests.
“People who had lived there for 30 years and who had never seen one started to tell me that they were invaded in turn,” she tells us.
In other apartments, the beasts have likely been around for months. “My upstairs neighbor, who ended up moving out, had been living there for a year and a half, and she saw cockroaches early on. She notified the landlord, and her apartment was processed. But the animals quickly came back,” says Élise.
She herself has not stopped, for weeks, alerting CDC Habitat, the service provider who manages the rental agency of the building. “Since the first cockroach I found, I go there every Monday, on my day off, to ask them what they plan to do, she tells Planet. “We feel like we’ve been completely left behind.”
The daily life of the mother, forced to live with cockroaches, has become unbearable.
“I ruined myself on products against cockroaches. I tried all the bombs, all the repellents, all the grandmother’s mixtures based on baking soda, essential oils… It makes you feel unwell. I also plugged the smallest cracks on the walls, in the half-openings of the windows, with silicone, and placed baby socket covers everywhere. But nothing helps”, details the mother, exhausted by what she describes as “a psychosis, a state of permanent stress”.
Even in the common areas of the building, pests rule. “It’s teeming, along the walls of the building, it hides under the windowsills, we see them everywhere in the common areas, the stairs… We almost have to leave our house with a repellent bomb”, is indignant Elise.
At home, Élise no longer dares to walk barefoot, and she has learned to knock on the doors of her cupboards before opening them, in the hope of scaring away pests.
The mother of the family does not even feel at home anymore. “We adapt to the cockroaches, we are at home in reality,” she breathes.
Élise is especially angry with her landlords. “They take us for fools, they lied to me eye to eye, when they were aware of this problem. They want to rent at all costs to the detriment of people’s mental health”.
With other tenants, they testified a few days ago on the 76Actu site, and the publication of the article caused the service provider to react. “A professional came by yesterday to treat the apartments with a powerful repellent. But the worst thing is that mine could not be processed because I was absent and the neighbor to whom I had entrusted my keys fell asleep,” laments Élise.
However, the service provider should return by the end of the week. She hopes the treatment will be really effective. “On the calling card, it is written that they intend to come back several times, until it is eradicated. Last August, a smoke treatment was carried out in an apartment on the upper floors. Three months later, the cockroaches were still alive,” she worries.
For the time being, neither the lessor nor the tenants of the Le Havre building seem to know the origin of this invasion. “I was told that the nest was in an elderly person’s apartment, but hey, those are rumours…”, murmurs Élise.