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B.C. tenant says cockroach crawled into her ear and she required medical attention

Here is a roundup of some wild cockroach tenancy disputes in B.C.
The BC Residential Tenancy Branch sees a range of complaints regarding cleanliness and pest issues. Many of the disputes involve cockroaches. 

Cockroaches in the 'couve? 

While you may not have ever heard of Vancouver referred to as "The Couve" (one of Vancouver Is Awesome's first polls determined that it isn't OK to refer to it as that), you may have known someone who had a cockroach issue. Or worse — maybe you've had to deal with these persistent pests yourself.

If you've ever laid eyes on one of the creepy crawlies, you probably didn't like what you saw. But even if you aren't petrified of the critters or disgusted by their long antennae, you probably don't want them in your home. Not only are they gross, but they also contain harmful bacteria that can cause illnesses in humans — yuck!

According to Section 32 of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining their residential properties in a state that complies with the health, safety and housing standards required by law. In other words, they need to keep your pad pest-free or deal with pest issues as they arise. 

But tenants also bear a responsibility to uphold the cleanliness of their rental units, too. 

The RTA stipulates that a "tenant must maintain reasonable health, cleanliness and sanitary standards throughout the rental unit." 

The BC Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) sees a range of complaints from landlords and tenants regarding cleanliness and pest issues. Unsurprisingly, many of the disputes involve cockroaches. 

Here are just a handful of the multiple decisions involving bed bug-related issues in past years.

Cockroach crawls into the ear

In this dispute, the tenant was seeking $35,000 from a cockroach issue she said damaged her belongings. She said she noticed the insects a couple of weeks after she moved in and notified the landlord immediately. However, she claimed the landlord said the rental until was recently sprayed for bugs and the issue should be cleared up soon. 

In addition to a mould issue, the tenant said one of the cockroaches went into her ear, "which required medical attention as a result." The RTB sided with the landlord due to a lack of evidence. 

Tenant-caused cockroach infestation? 

In this dispute, the landlord said the tenant caused a "significant cockroach infestation" which required professional exterminations. They provided photographs of "significant garbage, dirt and generally unsanitary conditions" as evidence.  

The tenant stated that a friend brought the problematic pests with them when they visited four years ago. They said they didn't have the money to get rid of them when the landlord called the exterminator. 

The tenant did, however, post on social media that they hadn't cleaned their place in two years. 

Free cockroach traps

The tenant in this dispute was seeking compensation for a number of things. One of them was a bed bug cover for his mattress, while another was thousands of dollars for a year's worth "of catching bed bugs" and "having to clean up blood stains from bed bug bites." 

But the tenant also wanted some coverage for cockroach traps. He said he filled 19 of them. However, the landlord said they give them out for free. Similarly, the landlord said they supplied a mattress cover to the tenant and even assisted him in "putting it on."

In this dispute, the RTB found that both tenant and landlord should work in concert to solve the pest issue. 

Roast the roaches?

While there were several issues in this dispute, one of the most intriguing points concerns fire. The landlord asserted that the tenant set fires in the rental suite. However, the tenant stated that there may have been "smoke when they are using fire to deal with cockroaches in the room."

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