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Double win for 'bugged' tenant
Northview Apartment Reit will now fog for cockroaches in downtown Hudson House; tenant gets rent rebate

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

It appears to be a double victory for a tenant of the downtown Hudson House apartments who has been complaining about a cockroach infestation in his unit for years.

NNSL photo/graphic

Richard Shushack reads over the NWT rental officer decision awarding him more than $3,000 in rent rebates due to the ongoing cockroach infestation in his downtown Hudson House apartment. Shushack said it was never about money and he is optimistic that a new extermination method being used this week will get rid of the insects, once and for all. - John McFadden/NNSL photo

Richard Shushack said the landlord, Northview Apartment Reit, formally Northern Property, has publicly acknowledged there is a pest control problem and will step up its extermination efforts.

A decision by an NWT rental officer, which follows a hearing on the matter initiated by Shushack, will also see him receive $3.114.50 in a rent rebate because of the cockroach problem, Shushack said.

In a notice to Hudson House tenants, obtained by Yellowknifer, Northview admitted pest control issues are ongoing.

"In response to these issues, Northview Apartment Reit has devised a new strategy for combating this issue. We will be treating the building with the use of Total Release Foggers," the company states in its notice.

Shushack said he had been advocating for a fogging method of extermination because the gel that the exterminator was using to seal the cracks in cupboards in his unit would only scare off the cockroaches temporarily.

According to Northview, the fogging was to have taken place on Monday and Tuesday. Tenants have been instructed to vacate their apartments on those days. The exterminator will be back next month to fog in specific units where tenants have reported pest issues.

In the notice, Northview is telling tenants they must take pest eradication steps on their own. That includes keeping their units clean and eliminating food sources for cockroaches and other insects.

"Limit food consumption to one room in the house. Allowing food to be consumed in all areas of the home leads to crumbs and food spills that often go unnoticed and make tasty temptations for cockroaches," the landlord stated in its notice.

Shushack said he has followed all those steps yet the coackroach problem persists. Indeed, when Yellowknife visited his unit last month, it was absolutely spotless. There was no evidence of crumbs or any other potential food sources for cockroaches.

Rental officer Adelle Guigon ordered Northview to compensate Shushack in the ruling released last Tuesday. Her decision followed a hearing last month involving herself, Shushack and a representative from Northview. In her decision Guigon pointed out the NWT Environmental Health Act obligates the landlord to maintain the premises in a good state of repair, fit for habitation and in compliance with all health, safety, maintenance and occupancy standards required by law.

"The landlord clearly has made repeated and ongoing efforts to eradicate the cockroach infestation at Hudson House. Those efforts have not been successful to date and have been limited to one eradication option," Guigon stated in her ruling.

Shushack said he was pleased to receive the rent rebate which amounts to just over two months rent, but added it was never about the money - it was about getting the cockroaches out of his apartment. He is optimistic that the fogging method will work.

Yellowknifer published a story on Shushack and his bug saga last month. He says he thinks it may have lit a fire under his landlord.

"The article, guaranteed - and then (during) the hearing I had I mentioned the research I had done with other exterminator companies down south. They said they would approach the landlord and say this isn't working and try something else - fogging or spraying or whatever.

Yellowknifer reached out to Northview officials to ask why they were changing the extermination method now and whether they would appeal the rental officer's decision. They didn't return calls by press time.

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