Have you ever spotted a mouse in your apartment? What about a rat?
For many Metro Vancouverites, the sight of a rodent in their living space is enough to have them screaming and jumping onto nearby furniture.
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 — but it may surprise you how many decisions involve rats.
Here are just a handful of the multiple decisions involving rat-related issues in past years.
Rats, garbage and rotting food
In this dispute, someone called the landlord's emergency telephone line to alert them that the tenant's door was wide open. When police inspected the rental unit they reported that it "appeared abandoned." The landlord's agent later found the unit was "chock full of rats, garbage and rotting food." Since the tenants abandoned the unit, the agent had to clean it and they documented the "rat infestation."
In this case, the RTB sided with the landlord for a few months' rent as well as the recovery of the filing fee.
A large hole that rats can enter 'freely'
While there were several issues in this dispute, the ratty issue involves a shed. The tenant said there was a "rat infestation" in the shed which housed some of her belongings. The tenant noted that there was a "large hole where rats can enter freely" and that they invaded her car.
A ratty mystery
The tenant in this dispute stated that there were rat feces on the wall behind the stove in the rental unit. Upon inspection, the pest control services technician reported that there was a rat problem but "no pests were found" and no access points "were found to exist." Instead, the technician said the rats must have entered through the front door. The tenant said she'd only had the door open for an extended period of time twice and she'd had her eye on the door. She also stated that she'd caught a rat at one point.
The landlord was also seeking $250 for the stress caused by the tenant over the ratty situation.
In this dispute, the tenant said they informed the landlord numerous times about rodents coming into their rental unit through holes in the siding. Additionally, they stated that they could hear rodents in the walls "and rat feces was prevalent in their kitchen." They submitted photographs of the excrement as evidence.
The landlord, however, argued that "mice and rats are everywhere" and also that the tenant ran a "food-based business" in the rental unit. They said the tenant should keep their doors and windows closed at all times to keep the rodents from entering the unit.
Cockroaches, mice and rats!
While having one pest poses a serious health risk, having a few of them creates even more problems. In this dispute, the tenant alleged that they told their landlord about cockroaches, mice and rats in May and the issue was still unaddressed in October. They added that "COVID or no COVID, the landlord had a duty to address this in an expedient manner."
Vancouver was named B.C.'s rattiest city for the fourth year running
Vancouver was named the rattiest city in the province for the fourth year running in 2020.
Pest control pros Orkin Canada released their rankings for the B.C. cities home to the most rat infestations, and Vancouver came in at number one.perhaps not shockingly
The City of Vancouver has a guide on how to identify a rat or mouse infestation, including keeping an eye out for burrows, noises, droppings and chew marks. The most common rodents in the Vancouver area are the Norway (brown) rat, the roof (black) rat and the house mouse.
With files from Lindsay William-Ross.