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Bed Bugs and The Law

Whether you’re a home owner, a renter, or a landlord, you have legal responsibilities when it comes to addressing a bed bug problem in your living space.

For landlords and tenants the key law in Ontario is the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. The act does not directly address bed bugs, but gives both parties the tools they need to resolve an infestation in the legal arena.

As a tenant, you are responsible for informing your landlord, superintendent or property manager that you have bed bugs. Physical proof, a caught bed bug, is generally the best way, but evidence of bites or signs of bed bugs are also sufficient. Be sure to record the date and time you informed your landlord.

As a landlord, you have the right to inspect and maintain rental units. You must give tenants 24 hours of notice before a formal inspection, as bed bugs are not considered an “emergency”. Landlords are also responsible for bed bug treatments.

Landlords must notify tenants and instruct them on how to prepare the apartment for the exterminator. Tenants are responsible for following their landlord’s instructions.

If a tenant is being difficult, fails to cooperate with instruction, or interferes with extermination, landlords can apply to Ontario’s landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) for an order to evict.

Similarly, if a landlord fails to take action, tenants can file an application with the LTB where remedies can range from legal orders of repairs to abatement or freezing of rent.

Tenants could also seek legal recourse through the Health Protection and Promotion Act with the Ministry of Health, as bed bugs can constitute a health hazard.

Homeowners also have to be aware of legal issues surrounding bed bug control, especially when it comes to the use of pesticides. Any pesticide used in a home must be registered under the federal Pest Control Products Act and classified by the Ministry of the Environment under the Pesticides Act in Ontario.

It’s important to note that most domestic pesticides labeled for bed bug management can only be used by a licensed bed bug exterminator, the home owner, or an employee. In an apartment setting, only the tenant can use pesticides in their apartment, the landlord must hire a licensed exterminator.

The use of homemade pesticides is illegal and can be a major health risk.

Always consult a professional bed bug exterminator before taking on your bed bug problems.

>>If you become a victim of a bed bug infestation then contact the team at Allphase for the fastest, safest, and most effective solution. We offer heat treatment bed bug extermination for homes in Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, and Toronto.