A 63-year-old Vallejo woman is facing eviction after speaking out about a severe rat infestation at her home and neighborhood.
The eviction notice from Becky Pearson's landlord comes less than 24 hours after she spoke to NBC Bay Area about the pest problem. The eviction notice tells Pearson she must catch up on her rent in three days or move out.
"I've been here 18 years. This is unbelievable," Pearson said. "It's retaliation, obviously."
Pearson acknowledges she stopped paying some of the rent because the landlord was not doing her part to help get rid of the rats or make other needed repairs.
"When you own property you're supposed to take care of it. She hasn't done that," Pearson said.
The landlord, who did not want to be identified, told NBC Bay Area the eviction process was already in the works because Pearson is behind on her rent. She insists it is not in retaliation.
The landlord also said she had an agreement with Pearson that any repairs were the tenant's responsibility.
Bob Stalker with the Legal Services of Northern California, a non-profit organization that provides legal aid to Solano County residents, said he is troubled by the situation. Stalker said landlords must maintain livable conditions.
"They have to make repairs when necessary," Stalker said. "They have to remove pests if there's a pest infestation."
Inspectors with the County's Environmental Health Department came out to survey property immediately following NBC Bay Area's report on Friday. They said there is a definite problem that the landlord is responsible for.
Meanwhile, Pearson does not want to move. She just wants to get rid of the rats.
"I just want my house to be livable and to be able to live here without fearing if I open up a drawer, a rat is going to pop out of it," Pearson said.