Foreclosure rat problem: Abandoned homes can cause rodent problem for neighbors

PALM SPRINGS, Fla. - Erica Pacheco can't even get a bottle for her newborn daughter in the middle of the night without the fear of running into a rat.

"I open up my cupboard and there were rats. You can hear them crawling at night," Pacheco said.

She thinks they're coming from the adjacent unit in her Palm Springs quadplex. It's a foreclosure.

"There's a lot of places in here that have gone through foreclosure and apparently, because of that, now I'm suffering the consequences of some unfriendly rats coming into my home," Pacheco said.

Victor Garcia da Rosa with Truly Nolen pest control said he gets lots of calls from people living next to abandoned homes.

"It gets to a point to where there's just too many and they need to find somewhere else to go. And they'll go to the neighbor," da Rosa said.

"They destroyed my cabinets," Pacheco said.

And the mess they're making is dangerous.

"One of the most prevalent diseases that she's being exposed to is the hantavirus," da Rosa said.

It is a deadly virus that infects the lungs. Caused by contact with rodents and their droppings, the CDC says there's no treatment or cure.

"It's disgusting and I'm terrified for my kids," Pacheco said.

But it can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars to clean up and exterminate rodents.

That's money this single mother doesn't have.

Other homeowners are scared this could happen to them can take action.

"If you can do preventative measures, exclusion methods, blocking off any entry point that will take care of most of the problem, " da Rosa said.

Erica contacted her homeowner's association about the infestation. But she was told she's responsible for pest control.  NewsChannel 5 confirmed that is the case.

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