They say, “Don’t let the bugs bite” when people go to sleep.
Several Burnaby residents are trying to keep it from even getting into the conversation around their building. They contacted the NOW Feeling hopeless about the situation in their building, they seek advice on how to deal with a situation that the hired manager is involved in.
One resident called the apartment manager “Mr. Bedbug ”because at least one building he had previously managed received multiple complaints from the BC Residential Tenancy Branch because more than 50% of the units were infested with blood-sucking insects.
None of the residents would go on record with their concerns, so for the purposes of this column I will simply share the cautionary story for others.
“Since his takeover, he has threatened me and other tenants with receipts for their payments. I called the RTB and that is not legal,” said one resident. “He left at least one abusive voice message to a neighbor and knocked on people’s doors asking for receipts. Most recently he threatened to drive me into my face. I specifically asked him if this was a threat and he said ‘yes’. “
Another resident called it a “reign of terror” that this tenant is looking to move out of – not an easy prospect given the COVID-19 pandemic, which poses all sorts of risks for people trying to move.
They all voiced concerns that cleaning of the building would be restricted, leading to a bedbug infestation.
I looked up the manager’s name and found previous complaints, including about bed bugs.
“(I saw) them crawling all over the place, (I) woke up in the middle of the night and they would be all over me,” one renter was quoted as saying in my research.
Bedbugs are not considered a health risk because they don’t spread disease, so Fraser Health doesn’t get involved.
According to the Tenancy Resource and Advisory Center, a bug infestation may not be reason enough to break a lease, although the landlord is largely responsible for pest control.
The best advice is to first document every interaction with the manager, including the date and time and exactly what was said.
Next, file a complaint with the RTB as soon as there is a violation. Get it on the file. The branch won’t always be on your side, but violations can’t go unanswered. You need to let management know that you are not being pushed around.
It’s not an easy situation. Most landlords want to maintain their buildings because it’s an investment, but there are some who refuse to spend a dime on anything in order to maximize profits.
Good luck to all renters these days.
- With files from Jennifer Moreau
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @ brightbox44.