HOUSING: How to deal with pests? University of Toronto 2019-2020


Hi everybody Katrina back again from
Housing Services with my colleague Kix so as you know we’re here to talk to you
about different aspects of renting in Toronto so today we’re going to be
talking about the subject that everyone loves to hate
pests so we’re gonna be talking about mice cockroaches bed bugs obviously they
can be unpleasant to say the least but unfortunately pretty much all of us have
experienced them at some point yeah so unlike being outside in the elements
and starts get colder our homes are warm and dry and full of yummy food
so we we’re not shocked when pests decide to move in and try to be our roommates
but we’re here to tell you today that they don’t have to be so what do you
need to know ok so the first thing especially if you’re thinking about
renting a new unit is that it’s against the law for a landlord to knowingly rent
an infested unit to a new tenant so in other words if there’s a confirmed
presence of pests a landlord cannot be signing a new lease with attempt it is
not illegal for them to do so so the owner or operator is required to post
information about any pest treatment activities including the date of the
treatment and the name of the licensed pet management company and the nature of
the treatment on essential communication board in the building to notify all of
the residents yeah so some kind of bulletin board that everyone can easily
access so that notice though doesn’t have to include the specific location of
where the treatment was done so it doesn’t have to say unit 615 it may just
say the sixth floor or it may just say a unit in the building or some units in
the building however treatment records of any common
areas have to be available to tenants and even prospective tenants upon
request so when you’re moving into a new place you should always ask if the unit
or the building have had issues with pests and these
thing you want to ask about what pests how long ago how they were treated how
many times they’ve been treated and if there are any ongoing issues in the
building and what’s being done to treat those issues that may be ongoing because
so while the extermination methods can usually get rid of rodents and
cockroaches well rodents cockroaches and bed bugs
are more difficult to get rid of especially bed bugs because they’re so
small sometimes they can hide in electrical outlets and yeah big-time so
one of the big fears that new renters often have is what happens if they move
into a space and then they discover pests so as you know your landlords
should not be aware of this and if it turns out you know they just recently
treated it or they renovated because there had been pests or something like
that that can be an indication that they were
aware that pests but let’s say you move in and and you discover a pest issue it
can be a huge anxiety inducing fear for people so one of the things you can do
is try to be really proactive in this process and I would say that bed bugs
are the one that people really need to be proactive about because you’re
usually gonna see signs of mice or see signs of cockroaches but not necessarily
see signs with bedbugs so something that’s I’m gonna do at the next time I
move up I live in Toronto too and so I’m actually pay for a bedbug in session so
there are pest control dogs they’re trained like sniff out different kinds
of bugs and pests and I’m gonna actually pay for that before I move into the unit
it;s not cheap it’s gonna cost about $200 I think it’s going to be really
worth it from my piece of mind knowing I’m moving into a bed-bug free space yeah
definitely worth it so then what happens if your unit has cockroaches mice or bed
bugs Well so all landlords are responsible for maintaining you men and
this is a theme you’ve heard us say before if you watched any of our
previous videos so pests fall under maintenance repairs so landlords in
addition to being responsible for things like making sure that you’ve access to
vital services like heat hydro hot hot water gas etc they also have to ensure
your unit is free of pests so that includes ants cockroaches bed bugs
spiders mice and rats yeah so it’s really important to know that those
maintenance repairs including pests are a landlord’s responsibility so that
could mean the landlord is responsible for coordinating the treatment although
sometimes a landlord might ask a tenant to help coordinate, especially if the landlord doesn’t live in the area but the cost of that is the landlord’s responsibility and we do
see this a lot with tenants where there the landlord tells them it’s their
responsibility etc but the law says it’s the landlord’s responsibility as a tenant
you have an obligation and a role to not willfully or negligently caused damage
to your unit which could include willfully or negligently introducing pests into your home so if there is a pest problem in your unit or your
building you want to make sure that your landlord knows about that yeah give them
as much information as possible about the problem ask them to take care of it
and you can do this in person but you also want to make sure that you put this
in writing that is in general a theme with housing in general all of your
communication with your landlord it should be also in writing you want to
keep a log of what you and your landlord have discussed and what each of you said
and promised to do and the important thing here my personal
experience with this is when you’re having this conversation make sure that
there’s an actual confirmation so in my own case I emailed my landlord about
something asking like oh we’re good about this and he never replied actually
confirming so when I brought it up months down the line he said oh well I
never actually confirmed right even though we discussed it in person and I
emailed him about it he’d never on the email said yes yeah so make sure you get
that conformation and email’s such a great way to keep records yeah yeah and
so we’re gonna strongly always encourage you to put everything in writing and put
it by email so as we know Ontario tenants mostly are under the Residential
Tenancies Act so we know that that applies when you do not share a kitchen
or a bathroom with your landlord and in the case of past if you do share a space
with your landlord lucky there it’s owner-occupied and you live with them
that’s kind of a good thing because they hopefully will be more motivated to get
rid of those pests because they’re experienced in those pests as well
fingers crossed I mean unless they love cockroaches or something yeah well I mean all sorts of
people yeah but in Toronto there’s a bylaw and it says that owners or
operators must inspect the area within 72 hours of being notified not 72 business hours spent 72 hours of a notice being notified of the presence of
pests so if you have reported something to your landlord they really just have
those those three days to come in and do something about it yeah indoor and
outdoor common areas of buildings must be inspected at least once every 30 days
for the presence of pests so landlords are also responsible for common areas so
as you would have learned in our last video land there to the herbs spots
before all the common spaces even things like hallways or driveways shoveling snow and all that
and that actually also includes pests yeah it’s useful
so once the pests are found the owner is required to take adequate measures to
prevent that from spreading into other portions of the property and eliminate
or exterminate the pests in all areas where their presence was detected so
this could include hiring the services of a professional pest control company
that’s licensed by the Ministry of Environment if that’s required yeah and
so for most types of pests you may have to do things to get your unit ready for
the pest control company to come through and in order to do this to your landlord
must notify you ahead of time about what needs to be done so we can’t just spring
it on you and you’re like leaving the house first
cool on you know Monday morning okay the pest management company is coming in two
hours you need advance notice about what’s happening and about what you need
to do so no person is allowed to hide the presence of pests in any portion of
the property or obstruct the extermination so if you’re watching this you have a
pest problem you might think like who would do that who would ever try to
obstruct the extermination however think about the fact that you may be required
to take everything out of your closet every single drawer every single shelf
may be required to remove furniture from the walls you may be required to launder
and like professionally launder perhaps yeah all of your bedding all of your
clothing anything that’s fabrics what chairs couches etc you have to do all of
that in order to avoid obstructing the effective extermination process so
that’s where sometimes people kind of get get caught up in accidentally doing
because they’re like oh it’s so much work oh yeah but just hang on to this
one bag ya know because that’s a certain way to bring the pest back yeah yeah
don’t do it don’t do it yeah sorry I was just gonna say that you should
tell your landlord if you need help getting your place ready and if you need
help because of a disability your landlord must help you yeah yeah
that’s what I was going to say um so if the pest control method that your
landlord is going to use would cause health problems for you that you have to
you should tell you they learned about that and if because if it’s you have a
disability as well then the landlord has to find a solution in in treating the
pests that also accommodate about your health
totally yeah so if you’re asthmatic and then it’s some kind of like powder spray
and it’s gonna stay in the air and then the space and cause you lots of launch
and health issues yeah that’s something they have to request to have a different
method brought in yes yeah so what happens if your landlord does not take
this action hmm well if you’re doesn’t if you’re landlord doesn’t take action soon we’re gonna encourage you to send a letter or
an email to your landlord so you want to make sure you’re gonna keep a copy of that
for yourself and the best way to do that put it in an email sometimes landlords
will have special maintenance forms you want to make sure that you are asking
about that and completing that right away not just notifying your landlord
and finding out two or three or four or five days later oh there was a form of
the complete that will take another two to five days to even get responded to
yeah yeah so you may be thinking oh my house is uncomfortable I don’t want to
pay for this yeah don’t do that so it is safest to keep paying your rent
while you’re trying to get your landlord to deal with these pest problems yeah if
you don’t pay your rent for any reason in that time period your landlord can
try to have you evicted yeah so not really worth it
it’s tough we understand that it’s tough the cost of that of that pest treatment
is really something that’s a landlord’s responsibilities if you have a
good relationship with your landlord this can always be a negotiation this
can be something you talk to them about it um but don’t stop paying your rent
keep paying your rent keep moving forward and living in the space as comfortably as you
possibly can so if your landlord doesn’t deal with the problems as we know they
have 72 hours to come in and start doing something about it so doing an
inspection and then booking some kind of treatment and having the treatment come
in it’s not all necessarily gonna happen in 72 hours I know that it can take
upwards of what a week or two weeks for the full kind of processing to
come through so if your landlord though is not stealing a problem they haven’t
come through to inspect they haven’t booked any kind of service they say the
book to service but then they can’t provide you any kind of confirmation
that the services are booked because that’s going to help you for sure you can call 311 to report
the issue that you’ve been having so toronto has a bylaw enforcement program
called RentSafeTO and it applies to apartment buildings so the difference
between like a condo and apartment building is who you pay your rent – okay
so condos are owned like individual units are owned by individual owners
they tend to be one of Toronto’s a lot of and they’re very kind of like premium
priced apartments are all about property management and they really range in
terms of like the amenities that are offered and how new they are in recent
how nice they are in terms of like decor and the materials used to build the
building older urban buildings tend to be owned by property management
companies that still keep rented like a relatively affordable rate they own the
whole building you pay your rent to a property management company there are
some newer apartment buildings that basically look like condos right but the
fact is they’re just owned by one company so the RentSafeTO program typically
just only applies to apartments where it’s owned by property management
company and the city can kind of do something about that if you are renting a
unit in a space that is not under this kind of RentSafeTO model so you’d
maybe rent in a condo or in a townhouse or you’re renting a unit in a private
home so maybe a basement unit or like the main floor of a house or something
like that and you’re experiencing problem very
first thing is you’re going to talk to your landlord always right you always
want to keep your landlord in the loop and then if the problem isn’t a thing
being addressed or hasn’t been addressed by your landlord then you can call 311 and the city can send out an inspector to take a look and see what’s
going on so now we’ve got some tips some general tips to keep in mind well you
have already mentioned this you want to consider getting a dog to do a pre
assessment before you move in that way you can save yourself potential money in
the future and you’ll have that peace of mind when you first move in yeah that the unit does not have bed bugs I would
say doing a thorough inspection before you move in so if you watched any of our
other videos you know we talk a lot about going to view units before you
have been so important for so many reasons scams being a huge part of it
yes but also just suspecting to make sure that there aren’t obvious signs yes
so there’s no droppings you don’t see the actual bug or rodent themselves
right around which that’s kind of a giveaway yeah
chewed up baseboards and all the like the little signs something you can also
search online for I did and then did not enjoy the photos that I had to look at
so you know heard a word of caution but yeah something you can totally look up
before you go inspect a unit and when you go inspect oh don’t be shy get
in there like open the cabinet open the closet like yeah get in there I actually love to go with
my friends and inspect apartments like I’m that friend like let me look at them yep so you also want to
make sure that you get a bedbug cover or your mattress
and your boxspring if you have one yes which I just did I’m so proud
it’s so great it was the best sleep of my life yes I slip that bed book
cover on and fell asleep so quickly I feel so much better because it’s something to get
cold but so thought your coat on and you’re on the TTC and you’re just like oh god, yeah you start to brush up against people so I
feel way better so a bed bug cover is sort of this like very tightly knit
piece of material that has a very waterproof air proof zipper on the side
so you literally just zip your whole mattress together the large zippered
piece for your mattress and your boxspring if you have one yes but you
just zip it in two and then that way it keeps it it’s not waterproof or anything
like that you could still get through it yeah but it keeps if there’s anything
that will ever get inside if your mattress has made it with lots and lots
of seems and lots of like little kind of crevices in the fabric yeah it will
keep all of that out yes and I have actually had experience with a bedbug
cover keeping it from becoming a bigger problem oh oh so I had a bedbug cover
years ago and I saw a single bed bug and I was like oh my god no and then I was I
was living with my aunt at the time so I asked her about it and she had an
inspector come in and they found the whole situation in my cousin’s room but
then I room it was like oh this room was fine probably because of the cover again
like set up shop in here they are not cheap I think I spent $200 per cover and
I have a mattress and a box spring oh and it was the best money I have spent
in a long time yeah if there’s so she knew things from our department that
we’re gonna tell you that’s worth your money tenants insurance yes if you
wanted to learn the last video so if you want to learn more about tenants
insurance please watch our last video on tenants rights as well as maintenance
repairs because we cover based on every video
tenants rights so important their tenant insurance
so if you’re gonna spend some money on your housing you’re gonna spend it on your tenants insurance you’re gonna make sure you’re covered for your liability in
terms of if you ever damaged the unit and what we accidentally your guests may
do whatever yes you’re also gonna consider paying for bed by cover it’s
gonna save you a lot of grief yes and when you get that bed recover then
you’re also going to make sure that your laundry’s done fairly often because
bedbugs love dirty clothes yes they do the real studies done on this yeah so if
you get the bedbug cover and then you’ve just got a growing pile of laundry maybe
yeah yeah undo the good work so just like yeah and that’s just kind of like a
general commentary on how an apartment should be kept so the city has a bit of
some bylaws when it comes to keeping your units like reasonably clean and
also like yeah hoarding is literally not allowed it’s part of the bylaws I didn’t
know that be warning okay because of what it can create right it becomes a
fire hazard and massive fire hazard yeah and it can also be like a really
wonderful home for pest palace for pests I want to see how this is written like
yeah you can look it up yeah so we’re gonna really encourage you to keep your unit
free from clutter that means cleaning your kitchen and your bathroom pretty
regularly keeping your countertops free of crumbs storing foods that pests love
to get into especially like grain products and in sealed containers like
sealed glass seal plastic something like that yeah in your fridge something like
that yeah and that you you know you kind of like you rinse things before you put
them in the garbage or the recycling it is vacuum under your furniture and
around your friendship you’re just don’t where what your space looks like and
there aren’t any like mysterious corners where pest can germinate mysterious corners
yeah and also make sure that you empty your trash cans or garbage in the
garbage often and your compost yes yes yes I know some people
their compost in their freezer for me that’s really limited real estate so I’m
like I’m not donating my freezer to compost but for some people that totally works
for them yeah and it avoids any kind of pests getting into this like organic
food waste yes that can be a huge attractor for pest yes that was actually
important please compost that’s great but do wisely yeah my parents actually
had compost for a while got rid of it and then got it again because they they
had an issue with it bringing in pests and they were like oh I think it’s my
mom what do I do so they got rid of it figured some tricks out right then right
yeah and Toronto’s a composting city it’s great city for it so please compost
but wisely yes and then this is this is such a Torontonian tip so please please
never pick up a mattress that someone has put on the sidewalk because almost
certainly they’ve put it on the sidewalk because it has bed bugs yeah when I walk
past one I start to walk into the middle of the street to avoid in case of how
a bedbug jumps up off the mattress onto me yes don’t pick up for an insurer from
the side yes there are so many cities around the world where this is a really
normal practice that people like wonder if my friends has a beautiful apartment
in the Rochester New York that it’s almost all secondhand furniture that
she’s either bought from lucky antique stores or literally picked up off the street
yeah Toronto is not your city for that please yeah you are just inviting pests
into your home but picking up other people’s furniture and that includes
couches and also and we can our richer yeah so things can get into the wood
and definitely so no couches no mattresses nothing fabric never ever yeah
I’m in be very careful with things like wood I thought my faces been like I was
feeling and then the other big one not armed I think about this but is
traveling yes so I mean this is this is your housing this is your rental
presentation but we’ll give you a little tip so when you’re traveling and you’re
staying in beds and you’re staying in other spaces there’s a chance that you
will bring that back to your own space so you want to be careful as you travel
so yeah so Ben are our other co-presenter he will sometimes take a
hair dryer try your dryer in a hotel room and blasted mattress to see if
there’s any bugs because the heat would drive the back side of the mattress he
he does like a full-on inspection of rooms that he stays even if it’s like a
beautiful high-end hotel yeah you know this is a thing pests don’t class
discriminate they do not care if you wherever you are on the spectrum of
wealth they will come for you your space is warm and dry yeah maybe even warmer
and drier than oh yeah it’s true so be mindful of that if you bring home your
luggage and a bunch of laundry can you not throw your luggage on your bed can
you maybe keep it by your front door can you bag stuff can you wash that right
away can you steam so steam is such an
effective killer yeah a bug is like can you invest in a handheld steamer yeah
25-30 dollars you know what they are yeah steamed the crap out of your stuff okay
you you it on my big thing and I’ve had I’ve had so many people make fun of me
about my thing about bags on beds I am the person if you’re in my space like woah get that off get that off of my bed like what do you I’m like you put it on the floor of the TTC and it was touching people and now it’s on my bed especially before I had the cover right I was
like I don’t know something’s gonna crawl out of your bag yeah yeah just you know you
want to move the world a lot of awareness that that pest
sometimes are like on people’s clothing yeah
people who shower every day and have excellent hygiene an excellent kind of
home standards and still can happen it really is not like flection yeah yeah
it’s not a reflection of individual people so you just taking the time to
try to be really careful yes I think it’s really important and doing the
inspections that you need to do yeah okay and I don’t think it’s pretty much
it any questions no this is a really fun and awkward topic if you do end up having
pest issues and problems I’m gonna really encourage you to check out stepstojustice.ca so they are a website that has summarized a bunch of different
types of law so like employment law the immigration law housing law and they’ve
done a really simple and easy to understand way including what to do if
you have pests including who to contact if you have pests so sometimes when
resolving an issue with a landlord one of the easiest things to do is to notify
your landlord of the problem and also at the same time notify them of their legal
responsibility as a landlord so you can include a steps to justice link as
you’re notifying your landlord hey I’ve got a pest issue per my rights as a
tenant or per your legal responsibilities as a landlord see this
steps to justice link which is based off of Residential Tenancies Act this is
your responsibility when I was renting that was exactly what I did and it
worked out Fingers crossed it will work out for you as
well you can also always get in touch with Housing Services so you can always
email us at [email protected] and talk about not just best
but any other rental issue you’re having we’re here to help okay thanks for
joining us

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