Talk about unwelcome guests.
A Georgia family has revealed its horror at discovering rat snakes living in their ceiling when it collapsed months after they complained about a leaky roof.
Harry Pugliese told DailyMail.com he had alerted his landlord, John Stafford, about the leak back in February, just one month after he, his wife Susan, and his 13-year-old step daughter moved into the home in Lafayette.
But Stafford never addressed the issue, Pugliese said, and last week part of the ceiling came crashing down — revealing at least four rat snakes living in the ceiling.
The family promptly called Animal Control, who informed them that they would have to get the landlord’s permission to take the roof down and get the four snakes out.
But still, Pugliese said, Stafford ‘didn’t want to do nothing about it.’
Days after the snake discovery – which piled on top of a rat, cockroach and bee infestation the family was already aware of – Pugliese said Stafford served him with an eviction notice to move out within a week.
After part of their ceiling came crashing down last week, the Puglieses found rat snakes in the ceiling of their new home in Lafayette, Georgia
They counted at least four snakes since Monday, and are now having trouble sleeping
Harry Pugliese said his 13-year-old step daughter was originally ‘freaked out’ by the snakes, but eventually started making fun of the situation by naming them
Pugliese said he had been asking Stafford to fix the roof for months, but Stafford claimed he did not have the money for the repairs.
Stafford also told local ABC News affiliate, WTVC, that the Puglieses never told him about the pest issues, and claimed he had sent someone to fix the roof two months ago.
The family, however, said the maintenance crews only put a band aid on the issue, and Harry said he called Stafford ’20, 30, 40 times’ since then to tell him that the roof was still leaking.
Eventually, Pugliese said he told Stafford he decided to hire a roofer to repair the leak instead of paying him the money for rent that month, and that he would not pay rent until the roof was fixed and the pests were removed from the house.
‘Why would I pay him rent, if I could take the money and fix the roof?’ Pugliese said.
But on Wednesday, the Puglieses received an eviction notice informing them that they have until June 2 to move out.
‘I was trying to be nice and help him out,’ Harry said, ‘and he backstabbed me.’
Stafford explained to WTVC that rent could not be withheld due to maintenance issues.
Harry and Susan Pugliese were married last year and moved into the Lafayette home in January
The home is one of about a dozen properties landlord John Stafford owns
They are now planning on staying with Susan’s brother anyway as they can no longer sleep peacefully in their new home.
‘I’m dreaming that a snake is going to fall on me,’ Harry said in a WTVC interview. ‘I can’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep last night because of the snakes.’
His step-daughter, he said, was also ‘freaking out’ about the snakes in the house, but eventually started making fun of the situation and naming the snakes.
Rat snakes are nom-venomous constrictors that can grow to three to five feet long. They primarily feed on rodents.
The family is also dealing with honeybees in the walls, Harry said, but fortunately have not been stung yet.
‘You don’t disturb them, they’re not going to sting you,’ he said, noting that he tried to get an exterminator to address the swarm, but the exterminator said the wall would have to be removed, which Stafford did not want to do.
And before they moved into the house, Harry told WTVC, Stafford informed them that there were rats in the house and they would have to put out traps and poison themselves.
‘He acts like he doesn’t care,’ Susan said of Stafford. ‘He said: ‘Well, if there are snakes in the ceiling, they’ll be taking care of the rats.’
The Puglieses claim a crew Stafford sent over to fix a leak in their roof only put a Band-Aid on the situation, and the leak continued until part of the ceiling caved in
The Puglieses also have a honey bee infestation in their walls, which Stafford said he does not want to remove as the species is endangered
Harry shared pictures of the home’s ceiling and roofing, which he said, is continuing to leak
Stafford manages dozens of rentals, he told WTVC, but only the one home, and said the situation there is ‘difficult.’
When asked whether he knew about the rats, Stafford said he ‘never heard that, but there are rats everywhere, so I’m sure there are rats there,’ and when asked about the bee situation, he told the news station: ‘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,’ he said, adding he doesn’t ‘think there’s another option’ when a reporter asked him whether he thought it was OK for people to live in a house with these pests.
He hung up on the WTVC reporter when she asked when the home was last inspected, and he hung up.
DailyMail.com also tried to reach out to him, but all he said was ‘I think the videos speak for themselves’ before hanging up.