Failure to Deal with Bed Bugs

August 2020

What happens when residents or building management fail to address a beg bug situation while in its infancy?  The following Reddit posting, edited so poster and building remain anonymous, explains the speed with which bed bugs spread and their impact on building residents.

I recently discovered that my condo building (downtown Toronto) has bed bugs. Did property management inform me?  Nope. I saw a video in the community’s Facebook group posted by another resident saying they have been infested for weeks, reported the issue immediately, and property management has been doing very little to help and actually trying to hide it from other residents because they didn’t want to ‘create a panic’.

The bed bugs spread throughout the entire building (almost every floor out of 11 storeys, including the lobby, elevators and basement laundry room).  They spread through the vents, on the outside of the building and through windows, and even through the cable conduits.  It is now a massive widespread issue throughout the building, and even spread to the building next door.  All of my possessions are currently in plastic bags or bins and I’m trying desperately to seal every crack around windows and baseboards with caulking.  I’ve spent more than $50 on laundry in the last week alone and had to take time off work.  I have to wash everything I wear and all my bedding every day and keep it in plastic bags. It has taken a huge mental and emotional toll.

Property Management has only started acting after residents organized, sharing experiences and realizing that we were being told different information and sometimes being lied to about the scale of the problem and when it was first reported.  Management only recently agreed to issue a notice to all residents informing them of the scale of the issue (you would think this would be a basic first step when the first residents report a problem).  They refuse to post the notice publicly in lobbies and elevators, probably because they are worried about property values.  I have seen realtors with clients (there are several units for sale and lease) and delivery people coming through the condo over the past week and I’m sure they have no idea.

Management also refuses to cover any of the costs related to the bed bug infestation and says they are the residents’ responsibility.  They will only spray affected units, which just spreads bed bugs further outwards to adjacent units.  The pest control company they’ve hired seems to be the cheapest option and has very few online reviews.  They won’t do heat treatment which is a more effective (and expensive) option.  Some of the owners are now considering a class action or some type of legal action to recover the thousands of dollars in costs this has incurred so far.  It’s particularly ridiculous because the property management fees are very high (almost $1 per sq ft).

I’m at the point where it seems like there is no choice but to move. This infestation is so huge that it’s hard to envision it being totally controlled anytime in the near future, and I don’t want to live out of bags for the next year (which is how long bed bugs can survive without food).

Editor’s Comments

Author inappropriately blames the management company for failure to disclose and deal with the situation.  The condo corporation’s management company follows directives of the condo board of directors which is fully accountable for communications and activities throughout the building.  Opinions on how best to treat bed bugs are just that – opinions.  A best practice is for condo corporations to pay the cost of pest control treatments, and to communicate among all residents how the problem is being handled and why.  This can be done by calling a building-wide meeting or internal communications.

For information on bed bugs and other condo building infestations see Condo Building Management – Pest Control in the Condo Archives.


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