On June 29, 2010 I called Toronto Health to inform them of what I thought was a flea & tick infestation in my apartment #63. Upon speaking with one of their inspector's & describing the bite marks all over my body, he informed me that it sounded more like bedbugs bites & asked if I'd reported it to my landlord. (Signet Group/Crystal Realty Inc.- Mr. A. Greenberg) I told him I didn't since I'd taken in a room mate in April who had a futon that was infested with fleas. My room mate moved out June
24th, 2010 at my request.
At great personal expense I managed to get rid of the fleas, but I couldn't rid my apartment of the ticks, which unbeknown to me were actually bedbugs. (I've never seen a tick or bedbug in my life, but I did know what flea's looked like.) I reported the problem to the superintendents (Ken & Mary Kolody) & they made arrangements to have pest control come in and confirm that I did indeed have a severe bedbug infestation.
Prior to the inspector coming by I was suppose to prep my apartment, which I couldn't do since I'm on disability due to back problems & being exceedingly under weight. (I'm 5'8" and weigh 75 pounds.) I did manage to get the futon mattress out of my apartment, but re-injured my back by doing so.
July 5th, 2010 I saw my doctor and he gave me a prescription for painkillers, anti-anxiety, & anti-depression medicine. He told me to take it easy & not to do anything that would further injure my back.
When I got home, I opened a closet door where I store my tools to get out some rags to wipe off the couch. I had it covered with plastic so I would have a place to sleep. (I haven't opened this door in over 2 years.) When I opened the closet door it fell off it's hinges and landed on on top of the left side of my head & shoulder. (I'm left handed & the door weighs more than I do.) I lost the hearing in my left ear, which threw off my balance & with my left shoulder injured it limited the mobility of my left arm.
I reported this to the superintendents, in writing to have it repaired and so they would know there was no way possible I could do the prep work necessary. In addition, we were under a heatwave alert at the time, which ended July 9. I do have an air conditioner, but for some unknown reason ever since they upgraded the electrical in my apartment it blows a fuse after running for 3 to 5 minutes on low, thus my place was like I was living in an oven.
I also phone my landlord so he was also aware of this. Toronto Health contacted my landlord as well explaining they were making arrangements to have someone come in and prep my apartment since I was on disability and had limited funds. They requested he cancel pest control until they were able to get my apartment prep properly, but Mr. Greenberg refused. According to Mr. Greenberg it had to be done immediately it was a health hazard. If it was such a health hazard the job should have been done correctly, which it wasn't.
I once again called Ken informing them that there was no way I could do the prep work. He then insinuated that I was unable to care for myself & I should be in a home. IMHO, this came across as a threat to have me evicted if I didn't do what he wanted.
He then told me I affronted him, which was a blatant lie. What I did do was question why we had superintendents, when I was speaking with Mr. Greenberg, if whenever we called with a problem we were told to call the office.
Ken was upset with me due to my actions regarding the garbage bins. (That's how I affronted him!!! If there were lids on the garbage bins some of the tenants wouldn't be able to open them and Ken would have to put them in.) The garbage bins are located approximately 20 feet from my apartment and don't have lids on them. This is a serious health concern to me since I'm highly allergic to bees & wasps & they swarm the garbage bins, not to mention the smell of rotten garbage that blows into my apartment & others. There's also a large gap in the floor of my apartment where the exterior wall faces the garbage bins. Perfect for the bedbugs to lay dormant, lay eggs, and enter my apartment, hence my bedbug infestation.
It's also against Toronto's City By-Law & I reported them to Property Standards and they were issued a citation to have lids put on them. They still haven't complied and the recycle bins, which do have lids they've propped opened with 2 x 4's chained and padlocked.
I again phoned Mr. Greenberg and he too mentioned that I was incapable of caring for myself & should be in a home. I'm being eating alive by bedbugs and their threatening me without knowing anything about my health or having any contact with my doctor! I am perfectly able to care for myself under normal circumstances. A severe bedbug infestation is not considered normal circumstances with all the prep work required - even if I was healthy I wouldn't be able to do the prep work myself in the time frame they allowed. Mr.Greenberg even suggested that I should have my 76 year old mother, who doesn't even live in Toronto come and do the prep work for me! I personally believe that if they wanted the work done in such a short time span they should have had Ken come and do the heavy work. Isn't that what superintendents are paid to do?
Feeling pressured under the threat of eviction and against my doctor's advice, I forced myself to block the pain and do as much as possible. There was no chance that my apartment was anywhere close to be prepped properly, but I felt I had no choice.
July 7, 2010 the inspector was booked to come in to verify there was a bedbug infestation. July 14, 2010 they scheduled the first spraying, and July 28, 2010 was scheduled for the second spraying. I had a counseling appointment previously scheduled so I requested to have the second spraying done either the day before or the day after, since I couldn't take my cats with me. Thankfully, Mary kindly scheduled it for the 29th, 2010.
On July 14th & 29th I had to be out of my apartment with 2 cats for 6 hours. I could barely walk myself, let alone take 2 cats with me, but I put mind over matter and succeed while in horrendous pain. (I couldn't use my walker & take my cats and other necessities required.) The bedbugs weren't only biting me they were biting my cats. Both my cats are pedigree's with long fur and the bedbugs were laying eggs in their fur. Their kitty litter was/is infested with bedbugs, instead of just scooping I have to throw out the kitty litter twice a day.
I was mortified when people on the streets wanted to give me money and buy me food. They thought I was a homeless person. There was no place I could go without infesting someone else with bedbugs & that was the last thing I wanted to happen. I wouldn't want anyone to be subjected to the pain, anxiety, confusion, and fear I felt from getting a secondary infection from being bitten by so many bedbugs.
On each and every notice I received from "Management" pertaining to the bedbug situation, it stated if after the second treatment the problem wasn't rectified I'd be financially responsible. Legally, that's not the case - it is the landlord's responsibility to ensure the property is pest free.
After my apartment was sprayed on the 29th, I was informed that I'd done a good job on my prep work and I shouldn't have any further trouble. I find this highly unbelievable since the prep work I did was definitely not adequate. Instead of hiring a company experienced in Integrated Pest Management, they obviously found the least expensive company to do the job. Guess they aren't as concerned about it being a health hazard as they lead me to believe they were more interested in saving money than anyone's safety.
Fortunately, I'm still working with Toronto Health to have my apartment prepped properly. I still have my bedroom sealed off & my couch wrapped in plastic, but my Superintendents are satisfied and I gather my landlord is as well. Now I'm just waiting for Canada Health to make arrangements to have everything done as it should have been in the first place. My couch has turned into an incubator for breeding bedbugs and God only knows whats hatching in my bedroom.
All the prep work I was able to do in the limited time I was allowed, I'm keeping wrapped so it doesn't have to be done a second time. Everyday I do more laundry and throw out more of my personal belongings. I've had to throw out a lot of items that meant a lot to me - custom made end tables my deceased father crafted for me, an antique vanity my grandmother left me, these things are irreplaceable, but you do what you have to do.
I don't think I'll be able to keep my couch, chair, and bed, their too badly infested. And it's doubtful I'll be able to keep my book collection and bookshelves, although I could be wrong. But, as long as I can keep my cats healthy & prevent any further damage to my body, that's the most important thing.
I've lived here for 19 years & have no intention of moving. They can threaten me all they want, I know my rights and I'm a fighter. Just because I'm disabled doesn't make me less of a person nor am I going to allow myself to be bullied, which is exactly what Signet Group Inc. are trying to do to me. It's not the first time they've tried, we've had our problems in the past and I've always come out ahead. One would think they would know better, but I can only presume that they feel since I'm now disabled I'm going to allow them to take advantage of that fact - Wrong!
I've done the majority of renovations myself & turned a total dump into a home. Everyone, except Mr.G. Greenberg, compliments me on how beautiful it is. I take pride in my home & I'm proud of the work I've put into it & I refuse to let anyone take that away from me.
I may be living in an apartment infested with bedbugs and out of plastic bags, but I know things will eventually get better. All I have to do is remain strong & keep a positive attitude.
Canada Health will ensure that my apartment is bedbug free and Signet Group Inc. will have to pay for proper Integrated Pest Management services. Regrettably, due to Signet Group Inc. my neighbors could very well be getting their own infestation of bedbugs.
I've already heard a couple of other apartments that have bedbugs, at this rate it could soon be the complete building. My apartment has been infested since April, although I didn't know it. I've also been in and out, thus chances are I've had hitch hikers (Bedbugs) attached to me dropping off in the hallway and other common areas.
When I throw out items infested with bedbugs I put labels on them to let people know, but someone keeps taking them off. Now instead of putting labels on them I paint bedbug warnings on furniture and appliances. Hopefully, this will stop anyone from recycling them and getting a bedbug infestation!