11/27/2013 08:49 EST | Updated 01/27/2014 05:59 EST

1,000s Of Bedbugs Found In Apartment, Regina Couple Evicted

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Bedbug head. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the head of a bedbug (Cimex sp.). Antennae are seen at top, with compound eyes (purple) at the sides of its head. Its stylet (centre), a piercing mouthpiece, is used to suck blood from warm-blood animals, including humans. Bedbugs are generally only active at night, hiding in crevices in walls and furniture and in bedding during the day. Although they do not transmit disease, their saliva can cause itchy swellings on the skin. Magnification: x40 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
A man and woman who had thousands of bedbugs in their apartment can be evicted, a Regina judge has ruled.

The case, recently published on the Canlii legal database, concerns one bug-ridden suite in an unnamed 24-unit building operated by the Regina Housing Authority, which runs low-income housing.

Court heard that after insects were first discovered in the suite in July 2012, the couple was ordered to clean up the cluttered apartment so an exterminator could do a proper job.

However, that didn't happen and the situation deteriorated.

"The property was inspected September 23, 2013, by Canadian Thermal Solutions (CTS)," according to a Nov. 18 written judgment. "CTS reported there was a heavy infestation with thousands of bedbugs."

Raid didn't work

The tenants told the exterminator they had tried spraying with Raid. However, it's believed this may have caused the bedbugs to migrate to avoid the toxin.

The case went to the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT), which decided that possession of the rental unit should be turned over to the landlord.

The tenants fought the ORT order in the courts, but Queen's Bench Justice Ellen Gunn ruled in favour of the housing authority.

Among the concerns raised was the possibility that the bedbugs would spread to other units in the apartment building.

"I have sympathy for the plight of these tenants," Gunn said in her five-page decision.

"In my view, the landlord has also attempted to work with the tenants for some significant time. However, the landlord has a reasonable apprehension of potential harm to the other tenants in their building."

The problem for the tenants was what to do with their belongings.

Gunn was told they're struggling to find another place to live.

"They may have to leave all of their belongings behind in order to avoid simply moving the problem elsewhere," Gunn wrote.

An exterminator had been scheduled to make a return visit to the apartment last week.

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