Windsor tenant says she's desperate for a solution after living with a raccoon for a month
Jennifer La Grassa | CBC News | Posted: Friday, May 26th, 2023 8:00 AM | Last Updated: May 26th
Property management company says it's addressing the issue
Soon after Kasha Green and her three children moved in to their new home, she says they started hearing noises coming from the vents and the basement late at night.
"It really sounds like a ... jaguar. If you hear the noise, it's loud," she said.
Before she knew what it was, Green said she took her family to sleep at a friend's place for a week. Then one day, when she looked up at the chimney on her roof, a raccoon was staring down at her.
"You can hear it rustling down in the basement, you can hear it rustling in the vents, you just hear it all night," said Green, who just moved in to the home on Dougall Avenue last month.
"It's [costing] me my sanity, it's [costing] me and my children our sleep."
Green says she's scared and has barely slept for the past few weeks due to all the noise and anxiety this is causing her.
WATCH: Kasha Green says a raccoon has been living in her basement for a month
Since telling her property management company — R. A. M. Property Management — about the noises in April and the raccoon spotting in early May, she says little has been done to catch the animal.
She says a pest control worker came by earlier this month and when she played the video of the sounds she's been hearing, the worker was taken aback and asked her "what is that?" She says she responded with, "well I hope you can tell me."
She says the employee didn't fully go into the basement and only set up traps to catch mice and rats — ones that are too small for a raccoon.
Property management says 'numerous' trips made to fix the issue
But Thompson said the company addresses "maintenance issues in a timely fashion under guidance and instruction of licensed professionals in each field."
When pressed further, Thompson said that the issue is being dealt with and that there's been "numerous trips" by contractors.
"We are following their professional directions," she said, adding that the tenant has been notified of next steps and that the issue will be resolved "next week as scheduled by the professional contractors."
Green, who pays $1,400 a month in rent, says she's frustrated with how long it's taken to get the animal out. In the basement, Green does her laundry and has stored some of her belongings.
But she hasn't been using the space as frequently as she's worried about the raccoon.
"I'm a mother of three, I don't have a job, so there's not that extra income to be doing all this stuff the landlord is supposed to be doing," she said.
She says R. A. M. Property Management told her to leave her basement lights on and play loud music at night to keep the animal away. She says she was also told to board up the vents in her home, so she's put chairs and boxes over them.
"How are we supposed to live like this? Hearing this animal, having to board up our things, walking around boxes and things, in our own home that I pay rent for?" she said.
Landlord Tenant Board application could take years
Green told CBC News that she offered to buy raccoon traps herself, as long as she could take the cost of those off her rent. But she says R. A. M. Property Management threatened to evict her if she doesn't pay her full rent amount.
CBC News asked the company about this, but it said Green wasn't told that.
Dania Majid, a lawyer for the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO), told CBC News that it is possible for Green to get an eviction notice if no agreement has been made and she doesn't pay her full rent.
Majid says that it sounds like Green has done everything a tenant should do and the next steps would be to file a tenant rights and maintenance applications with the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).
"No one wants a wild animal living in their home, some of them may carry parasites or diseases, so it's not something that we want to persist in a home and it can be a public health issue, but it can also be an animal welfare issue," she said.
She says in these applications, Green can explain what the exact issue is and can request to be reimbursed for any added expenses this has caused her, such as if she buys traps or has to do her laundry outside of the home.
But, Majid says it's not a guarantee the LTB will approve the reimbursement.
Majid also noted that tenant applications through the LTB are taking more than 24 months to be heard right now. The LTB has been dealing with a backlog of cases and long delays due to COVID-19 and inefficient practices. So it's unlikely Green's concerns would be heard any time soon.
Majid says Green could also break her lease and leave, though she risks not finding another affordable space and consequences from the landlord for not giving her 60 days notice.
'It is a safety risk:' Pest control company
Shane Pearson, owner of All Things Wild Animal Removal Service & Wildlife Control, says spring is a busy time for raccoon calls specifically.
He says right now, they've turned down some calls for service, because they know they won't be able to get to them any time soon.
Pearson says that typically raccoons are in the chimney or attic and that it's quite rare for them to be directly inside the living space.
"At night [raccoons are] looking for places to have their babies or bed down for the day and a chimney is very similar to a hollow tree, which is naturally what they live in," he said.
He says raccoons can create quite a mess inside of a home, such as leaving feces and urine behind, tearing out insolation or ripping holes in a roof vent.
"We would never want anybody, whether it be a renter or a homeowner to do anything on their own, it's too dangerous and it could also lead to dead animals ... which could cause quite the stink," he said.
Pearson says the company always has to come out to assess the situation to give a quote, but he said they go upwards of $100.
"Ultimately this needs to be taken care of," Pearson said of Green's situation.
"It is a safety risk if she corners a raccoon."
And with three young children, Green says she's worried to be living there.
"It's very frustrating. I'm exhausted, I'm tired," she says.