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Decisions of Interest: Insect Infestation Liability

Who is responsible when tenants face insect infestations in rental properties? In this week’s Decisions of Interest, a tenant is hospitalized for a spider bite, and a landlord is trying to recover costs, citing Section 40. Find out more about this intriguing case.

Case Background:

In a recent Tribunal case, a tenant reported severe infestations of cockroaches, ants, and spiders in their rental property. Initially, the landlord arranged pest control treatments, but the situation escalated when a tenant was hospitalized due to a spider bite. The landlord sought to recover the pest control costs of $549, claiming the tenant’s actions led to the infestations. The tenant disputed these charges, leading to a Tribunal hearing to resolve the liability issue.

Key points from the case:

Initial Report: On December 1, 2021, the tenant informed the landlord of a cockroach infestation.

Landlord’s Response: The landlord arranged pest control treatments for cockroaches and ants, and later for spiders after a tenant was bitten and hospitalized.

Cost Recovery Attempt: The landlord sought to recover pest control costs from the tenant, claiming the tenant’s actions or omissions may have caused the infestations.

Legal Authorities:

Section 40(1)(c) requires tenants to keep the premises reasonably clean and tidy. This provision is central to determining liability for pest infestations.

The Tribunal examined whether the tenant’s cleanliness met the standard set by Section 40(1)(c) and if any negligence on the tenant’s part contributed to the infestations.

So, what was the outcome? And what are the key learning points?

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