The landlord has an obligation to make sure the premises comply with public health requirements at all times. Under the Minimum Housing and Health Standards, the landlord must ensure the rental property is free of insect and rodent infestations. The tenant is required to keep the property reasonably clean, to allow entry for any pest control treatment, and to follow the instructions of the exterminator.
If a tenant thinks they are having pest issues, the tenant should notify the landlord about the problem in writing. If the landlord ignores the problem, the tenant can contact Alberta Health Services, Environmental Public Health or call Health Link at 811 to speak with a health inspector. A health inspector will investigate the situation and has the power to order the landlord to deal with the matter in some way. The law prevents a landlord from evicting a tenant on the basis of a complaint being made to Environmental Public Health.
If a health inspector investigates and finds there is an insect or rodent infestation, the inspector can order the landlord to fix the problem. If the landlord ignores the order, the tenant can either apply to Provincial Court or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service to end the tenancy, or serve the landlord with a 14-day notice that he or she is going to end the tenancy.
If the landlord believes the tenant should pay for the treatment, then the landlord may issue a bill to the tenant, or may deduct the cost of the treatment from the security deposit. If the tenant refuses to pay or applies for return of the security deposit, then the landlord will have to bring evidence to show that the tenant did not follow the exterminator’s instructions. The judge or tenancy dispute officer will decide who should have to pay based on the evidence that is before them.
For more information, visit the Alberta Residential Landlord Association’s Bed Bug Resources.