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What if my place has cockroaches, mice, or other pests?
Clear language definitions to common legal terms.
If you have a problem with cockroaches, bedbugs, mice, or other pests, your landlord must take steps to get rid of them and to stop them from getting in. This is a normal part of the maintenance that landlords must do.
You may have to do certain things to allow the landlord or a pest control service to deal with the problem. For example, you might have to move all your furniture away from the walls. Or you might have to let the pest control service into your place on a certain day so they can do a lot of units at the same time.
Tell your landlord if certain pest control methods cause health problems for you. And you can ask your landlord if you need help getting your place ready for the pest control service.
1. Tell your landlord if there is a problem
If there is a pest problem in your unit or your building, make sure your landlord knows about it. Give your landlord as much information as possible about the problem, and ask them to take care of it. Keep notes for yourself about when you talked to your landlord and what each of you said.
For most types of pests, you may have to do things to get your unit ready for the pest control company. For example, you may have to move furniture away from walls, clear off shelves, or have all your clothing and bedding laundered. Tell your landlord if you want help getting your place ready. If you need help because of a disability, your landlord must try to help you.
If certain pest control methods would cause health problems for you, make sure to tell your landlord about this. If this is because of a disability, your landlord must try to find a solution.
If your landlord does not take action soon, send a letter or an email to your landlord. Make sure to keep a copy for yourself. Or, if your landlord has a special form for maintenance requests, fill one out and keep a copy.
It is safest to keep paying your rent while you are trying to get your landlord to deal with pest problems. If you do not pay all your rent for any reason, your landlord can try to have you evicted.
2. Talk to your neighbours
Find out if other tenants in your building have similar problems. If they do, you might be able to get more done by working together. Many types of pests can travel between units, so your landlord may have to do several units or even several floors at the same time.
If there are ongoing issues in your building or neighbourhood, you might want to think about forming a tenants' association.
3. Call an inspector
If your landlord does not deal with the problem, you can call your local property standards or by-law department, or your town or city hall, municipal office, or local councillor. Many cities, towns, and other municipalities have inspectors who can order your landlord to take steps to deal with pests.
If there are no housing standards by-laws where you live, the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit (RHEU) is responsible for making sure landlords follow the provincial standards. You can call the RHEU at 1-888-772-9277.
4. Apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board
If your landlord still does not deal with the problem, you can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board. The Board is like a special court that decides disputes between tenants and landlords.
When you apply, the Board will schedule a hearing where you and your landlord can each explain the situation to a member of the Board. Before the hearing, you and your landlord can try to settle your problems yourselves or with the help of a Board employee.
It is up to you to convince the Board member about the problem. It is very important to bring evidence to your hearing, for example, witnesses, photos, inspectors' reports, work orders, letters, notes, or anything else that can help you prove your case to the Board member.