Tenant Defends Rodent Infested Motel Shut Down by Health Department

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Unfit for human habitation. That’s what the Kansas City Health Department says about an east side motel now forced to close its doors, leaving dozens of people out on the street.

One tenant, Casey Harris, said by Wednesday she’ll be homeless.

“I have nowhere to go,” she said.

Repeated health violations forced the Health Department to shut down the Travel Inn motel where Harris and her boyfriend have lived for the past two months.

“Me and my boyfriend have a whole room full of stuff and nowhere to put it,” Harris said.

Harris says the room she pays $700 a month for is fine by her standards.

“We had one of them sleep number mattresses,” she said. “That’s how nice it is.”

The Health Department cites a significant rodent infestation, soiled and stained mattresses, sheets and towels and mold throughout the building.

“This is one of the worst,” said Bert Malone, manager of the city’s Health Department.

Management says the motel is in the process of remodeling. They even allowed FOX 4 cameras into one of the recently renovated rooms. But the health department says ‘remodeling’ has been their excuse for some time, and their upkeep is still not up to par.

“Frankly, I believe that we gave them ample opportunity over the last 16-18 months to rectify or correct any hazards that were present,” Malone said. “They would do some rooms and fix some areas, but a full extensive remediation of the problems simply wasn’t being done.”

Both Harris and management disagree.

“I’ve never seen no rats in here. I’ve never seen no cockroaches. I don’t know where its coming from,” Harris said.

Regardless, by Wednesday at 11 a.m., Harris and at least 35 other tenants must be out of the motel.

“They’re taking a lot of homes from a lot of people,” said Harris.

Many of the people being forced to move had recently paid their rent. Harris said she paid $350 for the next two weeks. Management says they have no money to refund any of the tenants.

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