Many renters are drawn to listings that promise things for free. From shared gym space to heat to Internet use, there are several perks landlords can offer prospective tenants.
But most people wouldn't say that free traps for catching pests are a perk.
If you've ever laid eyes on a cockroach, 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.
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."
Since the tenant was 72 years old at the time of the infestation, he said it was particularly challenging for him as he had to vacate the unit for several hours during multiple treatments.
The tenant also wanted some coverage for cockroach traps; he said he'd filled a whopping 19 of them. However, the landlord noted that they gave them out for free. Similarly, the landlord said they supplied a mattress cover to the tenant and even assisted him in "putting it on."
The tenant also requested that the landlord "punch holes in the walls" and then spray inside of them in order to get rid of the pests.
In this dispute, the RTB found that both tenant and landlord should work in concert to solve the pest issue. It noted that preventing bed bugs and cockroaches must be a "joint effort" between both parties.