Hank Investigates: Wild Roommates

Some local renters say all they wanted was a quiet and safe place to live. But when some unwanted, wild roommates showed up, their landlord didn’t do enough to keep the peace. That’s when the tenants contacted Hank Phillippi Ryan. 7 Investigates.

The sounds coming from inside a Brookline apartment were like something from a horror movie!

Clanging, scratching, banging and screeching from behind a wall.

The people who live there used a baking pan and steel wool to plug holes in the walls – trying to protect themselves from whatever was making the noises.

It all started last fall.

“We heard kind of the scratching sound for a few days and just assumed maybe it’s a mouse,” Connor said.

But a week later they learned it was a much bigger problem.

“You walked into the kitchen and what did you see?” Hank asked.

“There was a hole, probably a couple inches in diameter, and you can kind of see an animal’s like nose sticking through it,” Connor said.

It was a squirrel!

“I was freaking out,” Connor said.

Connor called his landlord who sent someone to patch the hole.

But that didn’t get rid of the squirrels.

And they just made new holes.

The new holes didn’t get fixed.

That’s when Connor and his roommate got creative plugging them.

“You called your landlord and said what?” Hank asked.

“The squirrel is still in the wall, like, get the holes fixed. It did get really frustrating, and it was definitely scary at times like this thing might come in the apartment,” Connor said.

We called Connor’s landlord, but he hung up on us.

So, we contacted the Brookline Health Department and soon after, officials issued these violations. The owner of Connor’s building was given 7 days to hire a professional wildlife removal company to remove the squirrels.

In Massachusetts, you can’t just call any exterminator or pest control company to deal with squirrels.

You have to call a licensed problem animal control agent like Mark Thomas from Baystate Wildlife Management, “You can get a lot of trouble if you don’t follow the rules,” he said.

Squirrels in your house aren’t just noisy. They can be dangerous.

If they eat through wiring, that can cause a fire.

Thomas says during the pandemic his phone has been ringing more than ever because more people are home and hear the squirrels running around.

“People call and literally say the squirrels are driving me nuts. The longer you leave those squirrels alone, the more damage they’re going to commit,” Thomas said.

It’s something Connor no longer has to worry about.

Weeks after the town issued those orders a wildlife company removed the squirrels and the landlord fixed the holes in his walls.

“I’m thrilled,” Connor said.

Connor and his roommate could have withheld rent until the problem was fixed. That’s something that would have been allowed under state law.

Click here for more information on how to deal with problem wildlife.

And click this link for information on what to do if you encounter young wildlife in your yard, neighborhood, park or other location. MassWildlife says most juvenile animals just need to be left alone—not rescued.

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