Tenants in Charlottetown apartment building dealing with cockroaches

Dave Stewart
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German cockroaches have taken over a six-unit apartment building on Eden Street in Charlottetown.

Tenants who spoke to The Guardian say the insects have been crawling out of their coffee pots, toasters and drain pipes.

Margaret Chisholm, 61, says the infestation began about two months ago.

"We can't live this way. I can't take a shower. I can't sleep in my bed,'' Chisholm said.

"You have no idea what living in this building is like. I went to make coffee and one crawled out of the coffee pot and they're crawling out of my toaster. You're scared to leave a piece of food out (on the kitchen counter) in case they crawl there.''

Loni, 23, another resident of the building who asked that her surname not be used, said it's hard to convey how bad it is.

"I have never seen anything like it before,'' Loni said. "They're coming up through the pipes. They come out at nighttime when it's dark. It's like something out of a horror movie.''

RELATED: Cockroaches are plaguing residents in city apartment building

The Guardian attempted to contact the landlord but the call was not returned.

The German cockroach can grow to about an inch to an inch and a half and varies in colour from tan to almost black.

It has two dark, roughly parallel, streaks running from behind the head to the base of the wings.

Chisholm says the landlord is dealing with the problem.

A pest control company has been hired and was spraying recently.

Chisholm said residents were asked to leave for the day.

"He's a victim in this, too,'' she said Thursday. "He's at least trying to do the right thing here and he is being fair; offering to take some (money) off the rent.''

A pest control expert in Charlottetown confirmed to The Guardian that the insect in question is a German cockroach.

Tenants in the building also reached out to the province's environmental health office as well as the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.

Joe Bradley, manager of environmental health, said they are investigating.

"We became aware of the issue the first week of December,'' Bradley said. "One of our environmental health officers went out to investigate and confirmed (the infestation).''

Under the Public Health Act Rental Accommodation Regulations, it is the landlord's responsibility to prevent or eliminate an infestation of pests.

I'm scared out of my own skin, in my own home Margaret Chisholm

"We were in contact with the landlord and it was recommended that he hire a professional pest control company to look into the situation, assess the situation and provide treatment as necessary. We understand that (action) has been undertaken.''

Cathy Flanagan, director of residential rental property for IRAC, said she can't comment on a particular situation and can't confirm whether they were contacted about the Eden Street problem.

However, she did say "if a landlord is made aware of a problem, then generally speaking the landlord must deal with it'' and that "generally, the usual course of action is to hire a professional extermination company and follow their advice''.

Bradley and Flanagan said eradication can take time.

Chisholm says she is considering moving out.

"I'll never feel comfortable again; I'll always be looking (for bugs). I'm scared out of my own skin, in my own home,'' she said.



Organizations: Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Eden Street

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Recent comments

  • Problem
    January 05, 2016 - 18:40

    The building I live in right now is a 21 unit building and it is going through the same thing, German cockroaches have infested, i was not made aware of this prior to moving in, I guess a previous tenant brought them in with the many reptiles he had. My apartment is being treated soon but is so scary every morning and when I come home from work there is little bugs crawling down the counter, I guess its been a problem for a couple months or longer, and worst yet, the man with the reptiles moved out taking the problem with him and other tenant (after the infestation) moved as well, I can see this being a very big problem around PEI now.

  • city resident
    January 05, 2016 - 11:06

    Please publish the address of this building.

  • Louannmac
    January 04, 2016 - 16:45

    Sounds like a tenant brought this pest in. A suitcase / airlines etc. Do you not realize by moving you are bringing the bugs with you to another housing unit . All it takes is one larva .

  • Alex
    January 04, 2016 - 12:18

    This story is a great example of how the province does not look after the little guy. It is my understanding that a landlord is not responsible for the belongings of their tenants - I get that. And at the end of the day, IRAC has in previous cases set a precedent that a landlord can evict if needed to clean up a bug problem in their building. But what about people who are victims of just being a tenant - victims of not having the money or the means to own their own property? If I rented, and my unit became infested because of another tenant the landlord allowed to move into the building, I would not be able to help myself, because the building is infested. No matter how much I tried to clean and eradicate the problem, it will keep returning. This is where the province needs to sit down and come up with a plan to help people in this situation. Perhaps the solution is an insurance that puts tenants into temporary housing to allow for more powerful means of pest control. As for moving out until this infestation is corrected, I don’t think it’s a good idea. The province needs a policy that meets the needs of tenants to have quality housing, and the reality that bug infestations need to be taken seriously, and not moved from building to building because tenants are forced to move.

  • so scary
    January 04, 2016 - 10:51

    I would be moving too, but not until the cockroaches were eradicated because you wouldn't want to take them with you and have to go thru this nightmare allover again

  • been their
    January 04, 2016 - 10:21

    Right now moving will not help. The bugs are in your clothing and every thing that is in your apartment. you move you take them with you. sorry

  • Peter Johnsson
    January 04, 2016 - 09:50

    Chisholm says she is considering moving out. While I sympathize with this lady, moving out is really the absolute worst thing the tenants can do. This is exactly how the infestations spread. It must (and I repeat MUST) be contained to (so far) just the one building.

  • don
    January 04, 2016 - 09:50

    the landlord should pay for his tenants to live till this bug problem is cured. but we all know that irac will not make him as they are there for the landlords. not like it was years ago.

    • Maclouann
      January 04, 2016 - 16:53

      No, tenants can get there own insurance for there own possessions , when renting . Therefore, tenants can approach there insurance regarding same. I rented for 40 years across the country , so, I'm aware of responsibities of a tenant . Not sure what you mean when you state "like it was years ago"