Last month, Jade Winslow-Fuentes moved into the Enchanted Woods apartment complex in Federal Way with her two sons, 2 and 15 years old. She wouldn’t stay long.
“One of the neighbors came and introduced herself and told me that she was happy that a new family was going to be living there. She had been praying to God that a new family would move in,” Jade says. “That was a major red flag because why are you praying to God that a family would move in beneath you? She stated that the last tenants were meth addicts.”
Jade says she was completely horrified. So she and her kids packed a bag of clothes and immediately left.
Jade and her sons all have asthma and the day they moved in, they all started getting coughs and colds. She went to talk to the apartment manager.
“When I told her, ‘Hey, you know, the neighbors said that there would be twenty to thirty meth addicts in there smoking meth and cigarettes all night long.’ She rolled her eyes and made 100 excuses as to why they weren’t meth addicts and that she knew them and her leasing agent went to church with her. She said she knew what meth addicts looked like,” Jade said. “She watched ‘Breaking Bad’ and she knows what meth smells like and it smells bad.”
So Jade found a website called Methcleanup.com and paid $50 to do a home test. It came up positive.
“I gave that to the management and they stated they couldn’t trust my chain of custody as if me or my brother or the postman tainted the test. So they said they’re going to have a contractor come in and I said, ‘Okay!’ I know that you can pay a crooked contractor. So I had a test done myself with my own contractor, which is Bio Clean. That cost $550 and the results were positive.”
Jade received a letter from Guardian Management, saying their test came up negative. That’s Jade’s two positive tests versus the apartment management company’s one negative.
Theresa Borst is the president of Bio Clean Inc., a certified clean up contractor through the state’s Department of Health. She conducted the test at Jade’s apartment.
“I would like to know what environmental company went in there and I’d like to see the results myself,” Theresa said. “I would have to bet nine times out of 10 it was not a certified contractor with the state of Washington Department of Health. And furthermore I’d have to really question if it was really done at all.”
Guardian is letting Jade out of her lease without penalty, but she wants her rent and deposit back, her moving costs reimbursed, and $2,000 for the contaminated beds she had to leave behind. But most of all she wants for them to clean up the unit.
“I don’t want children in that unit, I don’t want another family to deal with what I’ve had to deal with. I don’t want them running a game and scamming another family. I think that they need new management because how is it that it slipped through so many hands?”
Theresa says the apartment is so contaminated that it needs to be gutted. Unfortunately the health department and police departments have lost funding, and no longer have jurisdiction on this issue. Both Jade and Theresa couldn’t get any help from the health department.
“I think her voice needs to be heard, mainly to make the public aware so it’s not happening to them,” Theresa said. “This is really dangerous. It’s potentially dangerous to their health, especially to children. We’ve seen ADHD, asthma, bronchitis as a result of this. We’ve seen women who have miscarried or have had birth defects with their children because of situations like this. This is nothing to mess around with. This is really, really serious stuff.”
Theresa recommends everyone in Enchanted Woods have their unit tested for meth, and extends that warning to the general public.
“There’s a lot of repos on the market right now and a lot of short sales. Talk to your neighbors before you even put an offer on that house because your neighbors are going to be a wealth of knowledge. Also, go to the sheriff’s department. Go to the health department, see if there are any solid waste complaints on the place. See if there’s any law enforcement activity that’s been going on at the place.”
For now, Jade and her kids are staying with a friend, but she wants the management at Enchanted Woods to make major changes so no other children and families are endangered by that unit.
“I think that they’re going to put new rugs in, they’re going to paint it again, they’re going to air it out, they’re going to clean it up real good and put another family in there.”
The Enchanted Woods apartment complex referred me to the property management company, who would not give me any information since this is an ongoing investigation. I also contacted the Attorneys General’s office and was told this is out of its jurisdiction.