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Montreal -- buy a house with bed bugs?

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  1. 1981

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Sep 28 2013 20:49:37
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    Hi,

    I'm new to this forum. I got to this site because I was looking for information on bed bugs and it is a fantastic resource, so thank you in advance for all your help!!

    Here is the situation: we're buying a house. It's a duplex in Montreal, two units currently rented by the owner part of a group of row houses built in the early 20th century (old, wooden structure). We had the structural inspection of the building done earlier this week and we were happy with it, so the paperwork is swiftly moving ahead. Singing the mortgage papers on Tuesday, going to the notary on Thursday. So this is kind of urgent.

    The third time we went to see the house (during the inspection) we realized that the tenants currently living in the ground floor had brought in about 27 used mattresses, obviously picked up on the street. I thought that was somewhat worrisome, but then my husband told me at least one of the mattresses was slashed (this is one of the things the city of Montreal recommends doing in case you have an infested mattress). Whether someone slashed it before putting it on the street because it had bedbugs or not is not that relevant. What's important is that the negotiations are really advanced, the paperwork *must* be finished by the end of the week, and there is a chance there will be bed bugs in the building -- but we don't know. We're young, with small children, don't have a lot of money, and it's our first home.

    My question is, what can / should we do?? What is your advice? It seems there is no guarantee you can get rid of bed bugs, particularly if the tenants are not cooperative (and when we mentioned they should get rid of the mattresses they weren't very excited about the idea). Also, I'm not sure we can walk out the deal at this point. Could we request a bed bug inspection? If it comes positive, can we under Quebec legislation require the current owner to fumigate? And if it's too late, is there anything that can be done besides having an exterminator over ASAP?

    Most importantly: who knows about this stuff in the city?

    Sorry for all the questions. I'm sure you can understand this is a stressful situation. Even without the bites.

  2. endless_nightmare

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Sep 28 2013 22:22:00
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    Hi there

    Some could say that I am the local resource for Montreal on this board, I have helped a lot of people from here.

    There is a HUGE problem with PCOs in the city, if you search the board you'll see that this landlord going by the nick Mickoz made a comprehensive list after research of who to hire, we compared notes and his list is pretty good, and he ended up solving his issue really fast, he owned a multi unit dwelling

    You cannot fumigate in Quebec (nor in Canada) it's illegal. I'm guessing you probably meant traditional spraying of insecticide..

    Why would anyone pick up TWENTY SEVEN mattresses??? that's absolutely insane, I'd worry about a bunch of other things from them besides bed bugs, 27???? are you sure, only time I've seen this in Montreal is when a shooting gallery was set up and they had maybe like 10 mattresses, I'd say this is no place to have children around

    If you are comfortable telling where this hood is, it may help

    Am I correct in assuming you are now buying the house and you'll live on the second floor as the landlord and them on the ground floor as your tenants? or will they be leaving??

    You are in between owners, if you have made the "promise to buy" document and it's been filed then it's on you to deal with the bugs if there are any.

    As you know a good deal for a house is almost impossible to find now in this city so I would not walk out of the deal.

    Call 311 about this issue, tell them about the tenants.
    Call "Regie du Logement" ask them for advice, tell them about the tenants
    Call McGill legal: 514 398-6792, it's free advice from the law school, they call you back it may take a while

    Consult the notary you are seeing for your house deal, he might have access to some good free legal info, be open about your concern

    Have an inspection done by Maheu extermination for bed bugs as they are the best in the city and the company public health and social services recommends, they do a very good visual inspection, they can write a report after

    they may not even be bedbugs there

    another resource is "Police du Quartier" if you go there during office hours they'll give you some basic legal info, tell them that you are worried about the neighbors and are going to buy a house there

    the reason I bring this up is from my own experience (the 27 bed thing) this appears more to be a criminal issue than a bed bug one

    keep me posted, tell me the hood and I'll be able to help you more

    Andrea
    not a PCO
    Spinal Cord Injury Advocacy/Volunteer
  3. endless_nightmare

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Sep 28 2013 22:46:30
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    Maheu extermination

    http://www.emaheu.com/index.html

    Regie du Logement (Rental Board)
    http://www.rdl.gouv.qc.ca/en/accueil/accueil.asp

    Health Canada (new dedicated number about bed bugs) 1-800-267-6315
    last time I phoned I was impressed as the woman knew that the three bites in a row thing was a myth

    write your questions first on a piece of paper, make sure you read all the FAQ on this here site before

    Public Health and Social Services (Quebec) would be a good resource for the problematic tenants if it's a public health issue, google it and you'll find a number

  4. 1981

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Sep 29 2013 4:26:35
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    Hello endless nightmare,

    You're one of the first resources I found when looking up information about bed bugs in Montreal last night. There's even a folder in my computer named after you with tons of info about exterminators, etc., so in a way you had already helped me before answering to this post. THANK YOU!!

    The duplex is in the Plateau. We'd be moving into the ground floor, that is, the place where all these mattresses are. I don't think there's anything dangerous going on here. I'm not Canadian, and I'm always shocked by the amount of stuff people put on the curve on moving day -- and any other day, really -- from mattresses to old tvs to couches and all kinds of furniture. The current tenants are recent immigrants from a very poor country. My impression is that they went around on moving day and gathered all the stuff they thought could be sold (there are also about 30 old tvs and a bunch of highcharis, cribs, etc.). The basement is quite big so these things are out of the way until they manage to sell them. I agree with you, though: it doesn't seem sanitary. The thing is, garderies en milieu familial are so under the radar in this city that a lot of them could be like this and nobody would know ...

    The plan now is to have an inspection ASAP. My concern is what happens next. Imagine there are bedbugs / the city decides the conditions are unsanitary for a daycare. Can we really force them to give away those mattresses? Will they damage the property in revenge? For that the phones of the Régie and the police are really useful, I hadn't thought about calling them. We'll certainly be asking the notary as well.

    In any case, thanks very much for your help. I will post an update in case the info is useful to other people in a similar situation.

    Have a wonderful Sunday!

  5. BBNewbie

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Sep 29 2013 9:41:24
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    As the new owner of the house, you have a responsibility to keep it safe for all of the tenants. Having a basement filled with old mattresses, furniture etc. could be considered a fire hazard. There are probably several ways to get the place "unloaded" so to speak. I don't know the legalities, but as a new owner you may be able to draw up new leases with provisions on what may be stored on the property. You may have to wait until their current leases expire, but it would be worth looking at.

    Even if you don't have a BB problem, you don't want lots of trash piling up.

    Just y 2 cents.

    S

  6. 1981

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Sep 29 2013 12:12:30
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    Hello BBNewbie,

    We're waiting for the lease to end in July to be able to move in, so that would be a bit late. In any case I know we're transferring the lease this week, so I will make sure to ask the notary and the Quebec Rental Board if the lease can be modified at that point. I kind of doubt it. At the same time, though, you're right that it could be argued that such amount of clutter presents a risk to the health of the tenants, the 5 children to go to the daycare every day, and is also a fire hazard.

    In fact, when I called the city this morning they suggested I call the inspections and permits division. The daycare may very well not meet the minimum sanitary requirements considering all that is in the basement. But, you know, the truth is that we can't kick them out before July, we have to wait until the end of the lease. And if we send an inspector from the city who knows what's going to happen. The city may shut down the daycare and these people may have to turn to a shadier business to make ends meet and we won't be able to do anything about it; or they may get upset and damage the apartment.

    It's clear we're going to have to thread carefully. We're trying to get an inspector to come first. At this point I'm hoping there will be no bed bugs or only a minor infestation that can be treated relatively easy (am I dreaming??). Then we'll get legal advice on how to get all that garbage (because that's what it is) out of the basement, something that will probably have to happen if we need to call a PCO.

    Thanks for your 2 cents. It is incredibly helpful to get advice from people who are not as emotionally involved with this property as we are. I don't even feel I can call some of my friends to talk about it, there's such a stigma attached to bed bugs. That makes thinking clearly much harder. I honestly had not considered the possibility of asking if we can modify the lease, but that would be a good way to move forward.

    Thanks again!


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