Students living in Roosevelt Point reported a rat infestation in the complex as early as December 2021, and according to residents, management hasn't been helpful.
Roosevelt Point is an off-campus property on Roosevelt Row which houses some Downtown Phoenix upper division students, Barrett, The Honors College students and some first year students.
Gannon Hanevold, Roosevelt Point resident and junior journalism and mass communications student, said he noticed the rat problem at the end of last year and believes it mainly affects residents on the first floor who live closest to trash rooms. Hanevold noticed the issue in his first-floor unit in early December, when he heard footsteps and squeaks in the walls. He reported the issue to building management.
"I first started hearing them in the walls, usually around midnight. I would just hear them start running around, and then occasionally we'd hear squeaks here and there," he said. "I told (Roosevelt Point) and they said it all came from the construction across the street, and basically told me 'tough luck.'"
The construction predicted to have caused the infestation is the building of a 24-story, 326-unit apartment complex on Roosevelt Row called Moontower PHX, which is estimated to be completed June 2023.
"Roosevelt Point has been working with its pest control vendor ever since we noticed an increased number of pests in the building caused by the construction next to us," Roosevelt Point management said in an emailed statement. "With the recent cooler weather, we’ve experienced an influx of pests seeking warmth and food sources within our building. Our vendor has adapted their strategy to address the recent influx. We also regularly communicate with our residents about the proper ways to dispose of their garbage and have an open door policy when it comes to resident concerns."
Junior journalism and mass communications student, Madison Young, said she reported her own experiences with rats around her apartment unit to Roosevelt Point representatives, even meeting with the building manager.
"He pinned a lot of responsibility on residents' cleanliness, which is unfortunate. Our manager said how unclean his residents are and how they don't follow trash rules, which is fair. But you're putting responsibility on your residents, and I don't know if that's the best look for you," Young said.
To combat the issue, the building has on-site pest control working two days a week and is providing rat traps to residents in need, Young said.
Young and Hanevold said management has not issued a formal announcement about the rat infestation to residents. Young experienced inadequate maintenance staffing, resulting in difficulty addressing and handling infestations in a timely manner.
During her conversations with the resident services manger, Gilbert Bujanda, Young said he was adamant the issue was due to residents' improper disposal of trash and residents should do so "like an adult."
"What you're supposed to do is go downstairs and, according to Gilbert, 'like an adult' take your trash out and throw it in the physical bin outside. But people don't do that, because when you promise residents that you're going to have a trash system (like a trash chute) and it's going to be functioning, they're not expected to take the extra leap," Young said.
After calling the Roosevelt Point three times, The State Press was told it would be redirected to a representative. At the time of publication, management still has not responded to requests for comment.
According to Young, despite the lack of management assistance, Roosevelt Point sent a notice to residents via email, advising residents keep areas clean and avoid overloading the trash room. Roosevelt Point also advises residents to contact the office if they experience rats in their unit.
"Make sure that you get management involved because it is their responsibility to help you out," Young said. "You're paying a fee to live where you are. And you're not paying that fee to cohabitate with rats."
Editor's note: Madison Young is a former staff member at The State Press and did not contribute to the reporting or editing of this story. This story was also updated on Feb. 23 at 6:36 p.m. to include a statement from Roosevelt Point management.
Sadie Buggle is the Editor of the State Press Opinion Desk. This is her third semester working for the State Press after two semesters reporting for the Community and Culture Desk.