CAPE CORAL, Fla.- A WINK News Call for Action exclusive is getting results. The pest control company Truly Nolen is responding to claims that they refused to help homeowners who have been forced out of their home after it was damaged by rats.
The company sent a corporate representative down from Sarasota to respond to our story that aired Tuesday.
The southwest Cape Coral home of Besflores and Catherine Nievera has been gutted, an estimated $30,000 in repairs is needed after rats chewed through the plumbing, causing severe water damage.
Before the current damage, Truly Nolen says they eradicated the rats back in April of last year – and the rats only recently returned because the homeowners had a new air conditioner installed this year, which opened a new hole for the rats.
“We can’t obviously know if there’s been a structural modification unless we’ve been notified as such,” Truly Nolen representative Joe East told WINK News.
When the homeowners called Truly Nolen in February to notify them of leaking pipes, East says a manager hired a plumber to fix the problem a few weeks ago. East could not confirm whether a full re-inspection of the property for rats occurred before they had the plumbing fixed.
“I think if we had done a new trap-out prior to the plumbing being fixed, (the new damage) probably wouldn’t have occurred,” said Nolen.
East says he believes the manager discovered the hole at the air conditioner after the plumbing was fixed.
The homeowners, currently in a hotel, believe Truly Nolen should pay to have the plumbing fixed again since they did it the first time and it was damaged a second time within weeks. They also say no one from the company ever told them about the new hole by the air conditioner.
“Today’s the first day I’ve been aware of it,” said Catherine Nievera, after WINK News told her about the new hole.
When we asked if Truly Nolen ever notified the homeowners that they had discovered the root of the problem, East said, “I’m not really sure of that right now.”
East went to inspect the property Wednesday and will again Thursday, according to general contractor Darrell Gadsden.
East said the inspections and any rodent-proofing needed will be free of charge as long as the contract isn’t expired.
As far as paying to have the plumbing fixed, East said it’s “under review.”