Have a Bed Bug Infestation? Here are your rights and responsibilities as a tenant

Finding out that your house has been infested by bed bugs can be devastating. Not only do they feed on your blood while you’re most vulnerable in your sleep, but they can also be very difficult and costly to get rid of.

In recent years, the City of Toronto has seen a large increase in bed bug reports. This number has been steadily increasing as bed bugs easily spread from house to house.

bed bugs on the rise

 

Bed bugs may be a nuisance to have but they can not cause any serious physical harm. The main concern is the psychological implications that they can inflict on their hosts.

So if you find bed bugs in your home, don’t panic! Make sure to stay calm and learn your rights and responsibilities as a tenant in order to fix the problem as soon as possible.

Your landlord is responsible to get the problem resolved

As a tenant with a bed bug infestation, you are not responsible for hiring an exterminator. Your landlord is ultimately responsible for making sure that your dwelling remains bed bug free.

If you have a bed bug infestation, make sure to notify your landlord immediately so that they can hire a bed bug exterminator right away. The longer you wait to address the issue, the harder and more expensive it will be to get rid of them.

bed bug inspection

 

Make sure that your landlord hires a licensed exterminator to get rid of the bed bugs. If they don’t eliminate all of the bed bugs, they will continue to spread making the problem more severe and harder to deal with.

Tenant responsibilities

Your responsibility as a tenant is to inform your landlord or property manager of the problem and to cooperate with their efforts to control the problem.

Your landlord will instruct you on what needs to be done to properly prepare your apartment for bed bug treatment. Preparation is very important to effectively get rid of these pests and can include:

  • Washing all your clothing and bed sheets
  • Moving all furniture away from walls
  • Clearing out your shelves

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You may also be required to cooperate with treatment efforts if one of your neighbouring apartments has bed bugs. If the exterminator hired by your landlord believes that your unit needs to be treated as well, they will likely inspect your apartment and ask for your cooperation.

What if the landlord does not do their part?

Similar to other landlord tenant disputes, there are several legal actions that can be taken. The best advice if your landlord does not wish to help with your bed bug problem is to speak with Toronto Public Health, visit a legal clinic or speak with The Landlord and Tenant Board.

In severe cases, a Protection Order can be issued by Toronto Public Health. This is an order issued under the Health Protection and Promotion Act which can be used on both landlords and tenants to ensure the necessary actions are taken for effective treatment.

In less severe cases, you can submit an application to The Landlord and Tenant Board. After a hearing is held with all parties, The Landlord and Tenant Board will issue an order that must be followed by the party who is at fault.

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