Suburban home overrun by snakes: Tenant battles infestation as realty company stalls

Tiffany Newman is renting a home in Sauk Village and inside, there's a slithering problem. Since moving in with her two daughters last summer, they have caught a total of 12 garter snakes.

The property is managed by Fairview Realty Group. Last week, a representative from the group allowed us to record her statement:

"We are taking care of this and will set up a crew to be there and dig in the basement and see if there is any nest there."

However, a week later, no action was taken. We visited Fairview Realty Group's office in Oak Forest, where their motto is, "No one serves you better than Fairview."

They quickly served us right to the door. The police were also called.  

"I'm trying to get some answers about 22146 Yates. They have a snake infestation. Is there anybody here that can talk to us, off-camera?" FOX 32 reporter Tia Ewing asked.

"So nothing? You're not going to address it?" she continued.

"We are addressing it, but not with you. So you have to go," said the realty group.

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Fairview Realty Group declined to go on camera or provide a statement. However, we learned that they had contacted a pest control company that promised to place a repellent around the home and find the snakes' entry point. Another company would be responsible for removing the nest or sealing the holes.

Fairview claims the renters initially declined the service, but now Tiffany is coordinating with them to have a pest control company address the issue. Two companies have already visited the home.

The Cook County Clerk's Office lists the property owner. We attempted to contact him without success and also reached out to tenant rights attorney Melvin Sims III.

"The first thing they can do is provide a 14-day notice of withholding rent in lieu of requested repairs," Sims said.

He added that renters do have rights and do not have to live with pests in unsafe conditions. 

"Witholding a portion of the rent until the landlord makes those repairs, using that rent to make the repairs on their own in a workman-like manner. They can break the lease with no future rental liability and relocate," said Sims.