Posted March 4, 2019
Ebony Menzies didn't have asthma before she moved to Toronto and discovered she was living with cockroaches.
Now a mother of twin baby girls, Menzies worries the infestation in her apartment at Country Club Towers on Weston Road will also affect her daughters’ health, as the pests are known to release allergens.
“It’s not feasible for me to stay here," she said.
But roaches aren’t the only pesky concern for the York resident.
She has heard neighbours talking about the presence of bedbugs in their units. As well, she says rats have been found in the neighbouring tower.
“The way they are handling the rats, it is not sanitary,” Menzies says of the property managers, employed by Q Residential.
“They poison them, but they are dying in the walls and the smell is awful.”
Lorne Stephenson, in corporate affairs at Q Residential, says both buildings were fully treated and the poison that is being used makes the rats dehydrate rapidly.
"I’m not going to say there isn’t an odour but it’s not a lingering odour," he said. " You can’t tear the building down."
Country Club Towers project manager Qendresa Bugacku says she has not heard further complaints about rats since the treatment, but the cockroaches are an ongoing problem.
Bugacku says a pest control company treats the units that have been reported to have infestations once a week.
Menzies, who is also a member of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) Toronto chapter, advocates for other residents who are experiencing pest problems.
“It is important that there is an outreach to the tenants and communication,” she said. “A lot of them fear some sort of threat from their landlord if they complain too much about some sort of repairs or anything like that.”
The State of Repair Report published by ACORN in November 2016, reveals that out of 174 Toronto residents surveyed, 31 per cent said they saw cockroaches in their units on a daily basis, 30.5 per cent reported having bedbugs within the two years prior to the survey being conducted and 28.7 per cent said they felt threatened when making complaints to their landlord.
Annmarie Gooptar often comes home to find dead mice and rats stuck to the traps she now keeps in the corners of her apartment.
The tenant who has lived at Q Residential's Astoria Place at 2240 Weston Rd. with her brother for six years had not seen any rodents in her apartment until early this year, when she arrived home from vacation to find nearly a dozen scampering around her unit.
But despite this being a new problem for her specifically, Gooptar says she has heard the horror stories from her neighbours, who not only report seeing mice and rats in their units on a regular basis, but also cockroaches.
“One resident just gave birth and she didn’t know if she was going to bring her baby home because of the infestation," she said.
Veronica Escobar, who also lives at Astoria Place, said she first began seeing cockroaches in her unit two years ago and it took a long time to get a hold of property management to get the pest control company to come to her unit.
When the roaches reappeared in her apartment a few weeks ago, it was a much shorter process to get her unit sprayed, but she says her apartment will require further treatments.
“The roach issue is a recurring thing,” said Marvin Watson, the building manager at Astoria Place.
Watson says the building’s affiliated pest control company comes to spray units with pesticide biweekly, based on complaints received from residents.
Watson said property management was first made aware of the presence of rodents in early January.
“I’ve been bringing sticky traps for residents,” he said, adding that he and another staff member have been going to units, sealing up holes to prevent mice and rats from entering.
Online reviews of Q Residential buildings reveal similar sentiments from residents in other areas of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.
“55 Triller Ave. — Roach infested. We lost around $10,000 worth of stuff to roaches,” one user by the name of Corey Chenier wrote.
“Living in a roach infested and poorly maintained building with a defective central AC is not what my husband and I expected when we signed the lease,” another reviewer says of her apartment on Darcel Avenue in Mississauga.
Stephenson says that there are many factors affecting the number of pests and rodents present in Q Residential buildings from construction nearby to a few uncooperative tenants affecting other units.
He says aside from full building blitzes and treatments of specific units, there is an ongoing pest and rodent control program in all buildings with infestations, where common areas and garbage areas are attended to on a regular basis.
Article by Veronica Appia for Toronto.com