If you are pretty certain you have bedbugs, you must take action immediately. If you are a Tenant, contact your Landlord as soon as possible. Your Landlord is the one responsible for treating a bed bug infestation, and make sure they are on top of it. Having bed bugs in most cases is not enough of a reason to allow you to break a lease. If you think your Landlord is not doing a good job in helping get rid of the nasty creatures, call the Residential Tenancy Branch for advice. Listed at the bottom of this page are a number of dispute resolution cases regarding bed bugs.
Recognizing bed bugs early is the key to effective extermination. Usually people notice bites or other signs before actually seeing a bedbug. Look for: small, red bumps or bites on your arms and legs; and black or red marks or tiny tears in your mattress, box spring, and pillows. These rusty red coloured bugs are about the size of an apple seed and will happily live and breed in cracks and crevices in floors and walls and in the folds and creases of a mattress. Don’t be fooled however they do get around, they can travel up to 100 ft. They can even be found smoke alarms or electrical sockets. They will hide away in the day time and come out at night ready for a feast! Bedbugs usually come out in the wee hours of the morning, so if you suspect you have them, wake up between 4 am and 6 am and examine the mattress.
After your Landlord arranges for an exterminator, you should:
- Launder all of your clothes, towels, blankets, etc. Dry everything thoroughly on the hottest settings, as heat is one of the few things that effectively kills bedbugs.
- Wrap your mattress, box spring and pillows in plastic or synthetic wraps that zip or seal closed. Seal the zippers shut with duct tape.
- Store your clothes, towels etc in resealable bags to prevent further infestation. Bedbugs usually only like to live in your bed, but they will move to your clothes and rugs if desperate!
A knowledgeable exterminator knows he or she must spray at least two or three times in order to wipe out a bedbug infestation. In some cases, it is more. Between visits, a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol can be used in bedbug “hotspots” such as bed frames.
For more information, visit Health Canada – Bedbug Management.
Arbitrated Decisions Regarding Bed Bug Disputes:
Case: Is the Tenant entitled to an order to instruct the Landlord to fumigate the rental unit?
Case: Tenant’s claim for compensation for damage or loss due to bed bugs.
- Decision: http://www.housing.gov.bc.ca/rtb/decisions/2011/01/Decision1641_012011.pdf
- Decision: http://www.housing.gov.bc.ca/rtb/decisions/2009/04/Decision1092_042009.pdf
- Decision: http://www.housing.gov.bc.ca/rtb/decisions/2010/10/Decision1294_102010.pdf
Case: Right to quiet enjoyment, and compensation for loss due to bed bugs.
The Bed Bug Registry
Visit the Bed Bug Registry, a free, public database of user-submitted bed bug reports from across the United States and Canada.