Rodents trigger flooding at condominium unit in mice-infested Vancouver strata constructing

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Shift councils may want to review their current pest control measures.

A tribunal took note of an expert opinion that once rats infect a building, it is difficult to get rid of the pests.

This was cited in a dispute in the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) that involved rodent damage in a mouse-infested Vancouver condominium building.

The dispute arose after rats chewed the water supply to a dishwasher and severely flooded the affected unit.

The owner, Iwona Gerlich, filed a petition for $ 5,000 in damages before the CRT.

The amount covers a range of costs, including her insurance deductible, pest control fees and supplies, and lost wages while handling the flood.

“The flood damaged the kitchen, living room, and hallway, and Ms. Gerlich said she would have to live off the shift property for a while while the damage was being repaired,” wrote Tribunal member Lynn Scrivener in her rationale.

However, Scrivener denied Gerlich’s claim for damages.

The CRT member ruled that “the evidence available does not demonstrate that the strata’s pest control strategy was inadequate”.

This “even if it did not take the best possible approach,” wrote Scrivener.

Gerlich had argued that the East Vancouver layers did not take the rodent problem seriously.

The apartment owner suspected that the cost was the reason the shifts hadn’t properly addressed the issue.

In their rationale, Scrivener reported that the shifts have had the same pest contractor since 2002.

The four-story building with 54 residential units is serviced once a month and every time there is a specific need.

According to Scrivener, the shifts have also “taken steps to reduce potential rodent attractants.”

For example, the shifts enforced their statutes against feeding birds, “also against Mrs. Gerlich’s shiftless in October 2019”.

“It also advised the owners not to deposit any leftover food in the garden beds in the minutes of the shift council from May 2020,” wrote the tribunal member.

The shifts also got a second opinion from two pest control companies.

A representative from one of the two companies stated in an email to the shifts that there is no “End All” Scrivener solution for mice.

This is because rodents are “one of the hardest pests to get rid of when a building is already infested”.

Among other things, the company suggested installing bait stations both indoors and outdoors.

The representative of the second company informed the shifts in another email that the apartment could do an “exclusion screening” for mice.

However, there is no guarantee that mice will not be able to get in because they will fit through such small holes.

Overall, the recommendations from the two companies were similar to the services provided by the current pest control company.

“MS. Gerlich argues that the shifts could and should have directed their pest control contractor to take additional steps to target the rodents,” wrote Scrivener.

These additional steps could include gassing the building to prevent mice from getting through and inside the walls.

In a judgment against Gerlich’s claim, Scrivener stated that if a shift company retained a professional and followed that professional’s advice, it was fulfilling its legal obligation “even if that professional was wrong”.

“Even if the pest control contractor was wrong about the type or amount of work required to handle rodents, it was reasonable for the shifts to take the contractor’s advice,” said Scrivener.

Since the shifts were “acting sensibly,” Scrivener decided they were “not failing their standard of care.”

A BC Assessment Record review reveals the mouse-infested condo in East Vancouver was built in 1999. It’s near Burnaby.

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