Analysis of 44 Cases before the Landlord and Tenant Board Involving Bed Bug Infestations in Ontario, Canada: Focus on Adjudicator Decisions Based on Entomological/Pest Management Evidence and Accountability under the Residential Tenancy Act and Other Applicable Legislation
MDPI AG -- Insects
DOI 10.3390/insects2030343
  1. landlord/tenant rights
  2. conflict
  3. accountability
  4. blame
  5. adjudication
  6. mediation

The resurgence of bed bugs in major urban centres in North America has resulted in conflict between landlords and tenants. This is commonly focused on attribution of blame for source of infestation, on responsibility, on costs for preparation, treatment and losses, and for compensation as rent abatement and/or alternative temporary housing. In Ontario, Canada, these issues are often decided by adjudicators at the Landlord and Tenant Board hearing claims, counter-claims and defense by legal representation (lawyers and paralegals) as well as through mediation. Evidence in these hearings may include photographs, invoices for costs as well as testimony by tenants, landlords and “expert witnesses” who are most often pest control firms representing their landlord clients. A total of 44 Landlord and Tenant Board adjudicated cases available online were analyzed. The analysis included elements of the decisions such as adjudicator, claimant (landlord or tenant), basis of claim, review of evidence, amount of claim, amount awarded, and evaluation of the quality of the evidence. The results of the analysis of these findings are discussed. Recommendations for improvement of adjudicator decisions on the basis of knowledge of bed bug biology and Integrated Pest Management best practices are presented as well as the importance of education of tenants and landlords to a process of mutual trust, support and accountability.