Possums invade Norcross apartment, family moves out but still must pay rent

6:22 AM, May 9, 2012   |    comments
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NORCROSS, Ga. -- Possums have been invading a family's ground-floor apartment at the Highland Lakes Apartments in Norcross.

There have been so many "invasions," the residents -- Lakisha Dominick and her husband and their two daughters, ages 4 and 8 -- have moved out.  But they cannot break their lease. The parents are still paying rent on the apartment even though they have moved in with relatives elsewhere.

Dominick said Tuesday that they first saw possums in their fireplace on April 4. 

"We were watching TV," she said. "And I hear a scratching noise.  And it's basically, I looked -- it's a possum.  The mama possum, in the fireplace."

Since then, she said, she and her husband have killed eight possums that were scurrying around their apartment.

Exterminators have not figured out how the possums are getting inside.

"They came, they put out traps, they did whatever they did, but whatever they did did not work. It did not work," she said.  "I'm frightened of them."

The latest incident was on Sunday, when the daughters found two possums alive in the toilet bowl in the bathroom.

"[Someone from the complex's corporate office] asked me, did my husband pick them up and put them in the toilet. I'm, like, 'Are you serious? First of all, why would you even fix your mouth to ask me that, after everything I've endured?'"

Now, she said, she's found out that two years ago an exterminator recommended to the owners that they plug some holes where possums were entering the apartment, but nothing was done.  Management let her and her family move in this past December, she said, knowing possums could and probably would get inside it.

Dominick said management has offered the family one month's rent and relocation to a new apartment in the complex, but no other apartment will be available until June.

She wants two months rent to compensate for the time she and her family have not been able to live in the apartment, and she wants relocation to a new apartment.

"They feel as though they did the max," she said. "I feel as though they didn't do enough. At the end of the day, I still have nowhere to sleep that's permanent with my two kids at night for 30 days, because [the owners] don't have an apartment available for me until June 2."

No one from Highland Lakes Apartments would talk with 11Alive News.  A leasing agent said any comments would have to come from the corporate office, Princeton Properties, which is located in Lowell, Mass.  No one from the corporate office was available Tuesday night to comment.

"I don't think they understand how stressful it is," Dominick said. "It's is so frightening, I'm scared. I'm aggravated, I'm devastated. My children are terrified by this situation, not only did they see the possums in the toilet, they've seen the possums when they went out the fireplace... Don't put me and my kids in harm's way. I don't care how much this rent is, don't put me in harm's way with these possums."

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