Tenants or landlords: Who's to blame for bed bugs?
Published Tuesday, May 14, 2013 12:11PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 14, 2013 7:13PM EDT
Landlords who don’t properly fumigate their apartments should be fined by the city, say tenants’ rights groups.
"It's always the landlord's responsibility to do fumigation," said France Emond of the Quebec Tenants Association. “If the tenant is responsible for it, you will have to go to the rental board and prove it after.”
More can be done to protect tenants from bedbugs in rental apartments, where the critters are most likely to be found, said Emond, adding that when insects and vermin -- of any kind, not just bedbugs -- are found, it's not enough to treat the unit where they were discovered.
"The building has to be fully exterminated, not only one apartment. Those little bedbugs, they move around. They don't have addresses," she said.
The City of Montreal continues to run its awareness campaign with advice on how to prevent bedbugs from spreading, which is especially important as the city approaches the traditional July 1 moving day.
The best advice is to avoid picking up old clothes, mattresses, and upholstered furniture left on the curb.
Anyone who moves should also inspect nooks and crannies in their new home before and after they move to make sure they are vermin free.
Come moving day, clothing, bedding and curtains should be placed in sealed plastic bags.
If you should encounter bedbugs, call a professional exterminator.
That advice seems to be working, said Louis Drouin of Montreal Public Health.
Bedbugs are taking up residence in 18,700 Montreal households, or 2.5 per cent of homes, down from its 2011 peak when the city estimated that 23,000 households were infested with the pests.
“It's a stabilization of the situation,” said Drouin.
Still, exterminator Denny Andrade of Platinum Extermination said the problem is far from eradicated.
“We're still doing an average of about 15 to 20 apartments a week,” said Andrade. “I have four people that work with me and we're always busy with bedbugs.”
Despite new and powerful products, homes need to be treated more than once.
Andrade said it’s important to be vigilant when choosing an exterminator.
“We're still seeing treatments that are done for ridiculous prices and it doesn't make any sense. You have to do two treatments for bedbugs and they're only doing one treatment,” he said.
Bedbugs are seen in a container from the lab at the National Pest Management Association, during the National Bed Bug Summit in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. (AP / Alex Brandon)