LAFAYETTE, Ga. — One LaFayette family's home is now home to several unwanted guests, but the landlord says it's not his problem.
The growing feud between the family and their landlord is pushing them out of their home, while other creatures move in.
Hary Pugliese, his wife Susan, and their 13-year-old daughter moved into the home on East Villanow Street in LaFayette back in January.
He says after months of complaining to their landlord about a leaky roof, on Monday, they discovered a different problem:
Snakes in their ceiling.
Pugliese sent us photos of snakes breaking through a hole in the ceiling. NewsChannel 9's Bliss Zechman visited the home to see for herself.
Pugliese says he's been asking his landlord, John Stafford, to fix ongoing maintenance issues since February, but that Stafford had said he doesn't have the money to make the repairs.
We took those concerns to Stafford, who disputes Pugliese's claims. He says the tenant didn't tell him about any pest issues. Stafford said Pugliese also told him about an issue with the roof leaking, and that he sent someone out to fix it two months ago.
The Puglieses said maintenance crews only put a bandaid on the problem. Hary Pugliese said since then, they had called Stafford "20, 30, 40 times" to tell him that the leaking problem wasn't fixed.
The landlord told us he had evicted Pugliese last week because the tenant had not paid the last two months of rent.
However, Pugliese told us he and his family had not been served an eviction notice, but that they are moving out anyway because they can't sleep.
"I'm dreaming that a snake is going to fall on me. I can't sleep. I couldn't sleep last night, because of the snakes," said Pugliese.
The family said they had told Stafford they wouldn't pay until the hole in the ceiling was fixed and the pests were out.
Stafford told us rent could not be held for maintenance issues.
Before they moved in, Hary Pugliese says they were told rats infested the house and that they should take care of the pests themselves by putting out traps and poison.
"He acts like he doesn't care," said Susan Pugliese, referring to Stafford, "He said 'Well, if there are snakes in the ceiling, they'll be taking care of the rats.'"
We called Stafford asking if he knew about the rats, snakes and other ongoing issues.
"It's just a difficult situation," said Stafford. The landlord told us he manages dozens of rentals, but only the one home in LaFayette.
We asked him if he knew rats were in the house. Stafford said, "No, I've never heard that, but there are rats everywhere, so I'm sure there are rats there."
We asked Stafford if there are rats in his own home. He said 'yes,' adding that he puts traps out all the time.
In addition to rats, cockroaches, and now snakes, the house also has bees.
When we asked Stafford about removing the bees, he had this to say:
"I would hate to disturb the bees, because it's getting hard to even raise bees. Bees are becoming extinct and that is a strong hive.
We followed up, asking if he thinks it's suitable for people to live with pests in their home. He told us: "I don't think there's another option."
We asked the LaFayette Building Planning, Engineering, Building Inspections, & Codes Enforcement if they intervene in a situation like this.
In this case, the city says the matter will have to be resolved between the landlord and tenant.
They say a city only inspects houses when property changes ownership.
We asked when this home was last inspected. We're still waiting to hear back.
We also asked Stafford when the home was last inspected. Moments later, he hung up, and we haven't heard from him since.