Previously, I blogged about the case in Edmonton, where tenants were evicted for not complying with the preparations for extermination in their apartments (which involved bagging clothes and moving or removing furniture.

Now, the Edmonton Journal is reporting that some tenants who claim to have complied with the preparations for bed bug treatment in their building were nevertheless evicted.

Capital Health says it was unable to successfully fumigate a number of suites at Virginia Arms, 10615 107th St., three times because some residents refused to clear everything out — including clothing and furniture — as required.

The company that owns the building is saying enough is enough, but some of the residents who claim they were complying say they, too, are being forced out.

“We didn’t do anything wrong,” said a resident who asked not to be named. “We let them in and they sprayed, but now they say get out. It doesn’t make sense.”

If this is true, it sounds like some of the residents were compliant and the landlord just wanted an excuse to evict them.

And at least one resident did not fully comply because his health condition meant he could not move his own furniture:

Evicted resident James Whieldon said he tried his best to prepare his suite for the exterminators, but because of a heart condition he cannot lift heavy objects.

“Since I live alone, I couldn’t move the furniture. But they didn’t come and help me or suggest where I should store my stuff while they were spraying,” he said. “They just said, ‘You didn’t do it … get out.’ “

I still think its good the building is taking the pest control operation seriously, since some places would not treat all units nor ask tenants to prepare.  But there has to be a system in place for helping people complete such preparations in cases where they can’t move their stuff. The article said:

Preparing for the fumigation process, which usually takes between four and eight hours, meant pulling every piece of furniture away from the walls and washing and double-bagging household items, like clothes and towels, so the bugs have nowhere to hide.

Some of the tenants (like Wheildon quoted above) implied they were being asked to move furniture out of the apartments, not just away from the walls.

It’s interesting that they’re talking about “fumigation”; I’d like to know what exact process they’re using in this building.

Also, on a more humorous note, pay attention to the slightly odd suggestion the Edmonton Journal gives its readers as far as how to remove bed bugs from one’s property:

What to do if your home is infested:

– Call a professional exterminator immediately. The longer you wait, the worse it gets.

That’s good, but read on:

- Household items need to be wrapped in plastic and placed in a hot, sunny location for at least a few days at 120 degrees F. Colder temperatures — below freezing — also can work, but the chilling period must be maintained for at least two weeks. However, attempts to rid an entire home or apartment of bedbugs by raising or lowering the thermostat will be unsuccessful.

It was -11 degrees C (12 degrees F) in Edmonton today. Perhaps the Edmonton Journal should offer some more practical advice to Edmonton residents than that they should leave their items outside in 120 degree F heat– I mean, given there is no outdoor 120 degree F heat in the vicinity, nor will there be for some time to come.

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1 fightorflight February 12, 2008 at 8:24 pm

My experience is that “fumigation” is just a term that lay people, including journalists, friends, co-workers, sometimes landlords and the uninitiated in general like to use as a substitute for what I would call “treatment.” The word seems to betray a general belief that it is easier to get rid of this problem than it usually is.

2 nobugsonme February 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Yes–I have noticed this too, ForF.

Occasionally, of course, people do mean fumigation (with gas). Not in most news articles, and I doubt it was so here.

3 Jen October 8, 2008 at 9:44 am

I was actually given an eviction notice for failing to prepare my apartment properly for bedbugs on Monday, October 5. This was our fourth treatment in a little over a year and none of the items mentioned were an issue the other three times – and didn’t warrant a call from my resident manager when she inspected the night before, despite us saying multiple times if we needed to do anything else to prepare she just had to call. coincidentally, we live not far from Virginia Arms. What a nightmare!

4 nobugsonme October 8, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Sorry to hear it, Jen.

5 ed October 11, 2008 at 9:32 am

I am a tenent at 10740-107 st. karon manor. The owners have recently sent an exterminator in for bedbugs in my apartment for them. However, I am still being attacked by them over a month later, an there has been no follwup spraying. Further, they are spot spraying apartment by apartment. Does this not just driving them to your nieghbors? These insects hace been in this building for at least 4 months, probobly longer, yet they did not tell me until a month ago. When I asked about this, they said “we didnt want to create a panic”. I also seriously douybt they have informed new tenent about this problem when they rent to them. Because they elected to hide the infestation from me, the insects have acheived a solid foothold in all of my funiture. I intend to move asap, but when i do I feel i need to leave all furniture behide or risk taking the infestation with me… This means i lose over $5000 worth of belonging I purchased new from the brick. i contact my insurance and my policy will not cover this loss, and the attorny I consulted requires a $1500 retainer before he will act. My question is this – is there no advocate, or someone to help me the tenant in this situation. Frankly when you push people into a corner like this and abuse us in this way, you force them to defend themselve outside of the law, simply because you gave them no real recourse, just a bunch of toothless tigers, so called agencys and advocates that will never do anything to help you, and only pay lip service to your rights as tenant. As a tenant in edmonton I am beginging to think there needs to be an example made of these slumlords, and then maybe the city will act to help in situations like this when realize that if they dont act, we will act. Anyone who can offer me guidance or help in this situation would be greatly appreciated because my back is to the wall and I am prepareing to fight to the death.

6 nobugsonme October 12, 2008 at 12:39 am

ed,
I am sorry for your situation. It may be possible to find a lawyer who will help, perhaps on a pro bono basis. I know tenants in one Chicago building filed a class action suit. I am not a lawyer and can’t give legal advice, but I do suggest looking into your options, within the law.

On another note, there have been cases lately where landlords were shamed into dealing with these situations properly after the local news media portrayed the tenants’ plight. It might be worth contacting the Edmonton Journal journalist who wrote the article linked from above nearly two years ago. He may be interested to know the story of tenants in your building.

7 Richard September 28, 2009 at 1:51 am

There are bed bugs in the Chelsea Arms Apartment Complex on 129 Avenue and 65 Street. They came in in March or April of this year, did a 5 minutes spray of the whole apartment and then left. According to my landlord (she owns my suite), they (the exterminators) didn’t even go into every suite since some people didn’t open the doors or they didn’t have a master key. Now we are infested and my child is being bitten. We told the management company about this two weeks ago and they are now avoiding my landlord. Their priority at this time is to make sure that all the vehicles in the parking lot have insurance and registration. I never had bed bugs until I moved here and I can’t afford to throw out my furniture. I have a friend who works for the Sun. I think it’s time to contact him and let the public know about this.

8 nobugsonme September 28, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Hi Richard,

I hope you will contact a journalist. Media attention may help tenants get the help they need. Keep us posted!

9 Jim Coxon October 21, 2009 at 8:48 pm

I am looking for information from Alberta Capital Health, what happens when there is a reported site of bedbugs and what the alberta laws are about this nasty little bastard. Thanks, Jim

10 nobugsonme October 21, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Jim,

The laws for who deals with bed bugs in a rental situationin various parts of Canada are here:
http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/webextras/bed_eggs/landlord_tenant.html?bed_eggs

I think that’s what you’re after.

Also, I found this by searching on the Alberta Capital Health website:
http://www.capitalhealth.ca/YourHealth/CHLink/FAQs/Archive2007/Question_bed_bugs.htm

I note the new Alberta Health site does not produce anything from a search for bed bugs.
The above item from 2007 may be out of date, but calling the number listed would probably be a good place to start.

11 Jim November 12, 2009 at 7:14 pm

It would appear that while there is and will be ongoing issues about this there are pest control companies that are making big profits either by scare tactics or nuturing the already existing paranoia in property managers. The rules they set out for spraying (which of course are a waste of time if there is no infestation and in some cases even if there is ) appear to be for those with next to no belongings. If you have lots of stuff it’s pretty difficult to comply and your open to the draconian measures.
There was a time when a persons property was their own. No more. People can just come into your home cut up your furniture, ruin your clothes, possibly evict you anyway and move on to the next appartment whether or not there’s any sign of bugs. You have No insurance coverage and No recourse but you can hear the jack boots.
It would be a solid good will gesture for the Alberta Govenment to step in and help people but until one of the MLA’s is personally affected as a tenant it won’t happen.

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