106-year-old woman, other residents outraged over deplorable living conditions

Bedbugs in McLaurin's apartment building. (WJLA photo)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – Complaints are mounting against a company that runs a number of apartment buildings in the District. Those complaints include no heat and bedbugs.

Virginia McLaurin says even at 106 years old, nothing slows her down—except for what’s crawling all over her apartment.

“They was in my couch, they was in my bedroom, so, that’s why I don’t have no furniture,” she said.

McLaurin and other residents of her 13th Street NW apartment building say it is infested with bedbugs. A video shot by members of a tenants’ rights group working with residents shows the bugs crawling on the floors in the hallway and even on McLaurin.

During the week, McLaurin volunteers at a neighborhood school. One day, she says one of the teachers saw a bedbug on her and sent her home.

“I need to work; I got to get out of this house,” she said, laughing.

But that’s not the only problem tenants showed 7 On Your Side in the building. There were roaches and leaking plumbing. Residents say they have repeatedly called management to complain, but they are slow to respond.

The building is owned and operated by Wexford Property Management. 7 On Your Side discovered Wexford owns or manages 15 apartment and condominium complexes in the District, and residents of some of the other buildings say they have had big problems with the company, too.

On Monday, some of the residents gathered outside the company’s headquarters on H Street NE to demand action.

“They have been struggling with an elevator that goes out,” said Dave Strong. “I’ve been stuck in the elevator twice and had to get the fire department to come get me. Water that goes out, hot water that goes out. It’s been very frustrating for a lot of folks.”

7 On Your Side tried to contact Wexford by phone on Monday, but no one answered. We would have just walked into its headquarters to try to speak with someone, but the company was closed for employee training, a sign said.

In the meantime, McLaurin says she just wants to move off the air mattress in her living room and back into a real bed in time for the holidays.

“After they get rid of the bedbugs, I’m gonna buy some furniture,” she said.

Residents say management has sent exterminators to the building to get rid of the bed bugs, it just hasn’t worked.

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