Metro Vancouver renters and landlords have to grapple with a range of pest issues throughout the year -- but disputes between tenants and property owners can also cause significant strife.
Whether you've ever had a bed bug problem, been at risk of having them or you've simply been alarmed about the prospect of getting them, the pint-sized pests cause a mammoth amount of turmoil.
Once a building has an issue with bed bugs, they are incredibly difficult to get rid of — and it only takes one person with the issue to wreak havoc on the entire property. Bed bugs are adept hitchhikers, and they can thrive in either clean or dirty homes.
According to Section 32 of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining their residential properties in a state that complies with the health, safety, and housing standards required by law. In other words, they need to try to prevent infestations from happening and deal with them swiftly if they do.
A Metro Vancouver renter says he lived through a nightmare in a unit that was infested with bed bugs and a carpet that was ruined from a flood of sewage. And while the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) didn't dispute the pest problem, it wasn't convinced that the landlord was at fault.
The tenant alleged that the unit was dirty before they moved into it and that he asked the landlord to clean it before he moved in. Additionally, he said a "flood of sewage back up in the unit which affected the condition of the carpet."
While he was living there, the landlord would enter the unit to close the windows and turn down the thermostat, the former tenant added.
The renter was applying for $10,000 for compensation for the monetary loss from a severe infestation, the landlord illegally entering the unit, failing to get pest control, emotional damages, and failure to comply with the previously agreed upon rent amount of $800.
A letter to the RTB stated that the tenant was bitten by bed bugs on their face and hands "over a long period of time and that the pest control inspector stated that the bed bug infestation had been around for at least six months," and that they had supplied "pictures of bed bugs in a jar, in the mattress, and on blood stained bed sheets."
In another letter, the tenant described the trauma of being bitten by the pests in their sleep as well as the costs required to replace the bedding.
But the RTB found that the tenant did not provide evidence of the carpet being in poor condition due to the sewage issue. It also noted that the landlord got a pest control company to come and provide treatments, despite the renter claiming otherwise.
Here are some of the other decisions involving bed bug-related issues in past years.