Nfld. & Labrador

Former tenant says bedbugs have ravaged St. John's apartment building

A St. John's woman is speaking out about a bedbug infestation at her former apartment in Kilbride, calling it a costly nightmare.

Rosarri Reynolds says bedbug infestation has cost her upwards of $7,000

Rosarri Reynolds says she moved out of Meadowland Manor in St. John's because of a bedbug infestation. (Killam Properties )

A St. John's woman is speaking out about a nightmare bedbug infestation at her former apartment in Kilbride, and warning others about what she believes is mismanagement by the property's owner. 

Rosarri Reynolds moved into Meadowland Manor last December and said she started to hear rumours of a bedbug infestation almost immediately.

"Issues popped up as soon as I moved into the apartment," she said.

Reynolds said she found mice droppings and dealt with several leaks within the first month she lived at Meadowland Manor. 

I didn't sleep very well because I knew when I went to bed I was going to be attacked by a parasite that was sucking the blood out of me.-  Rosarri  Reynolds

But it wasn't until pest control visited her apartment in February that she discovered she also had bedbugs.

"They found one in the corner of my box spring of my mattress," said Reynolds.

"Apparently the [pest] guy said he was just after eating off someone."

With nowhere else to sleep that night, she said she had no other choice but to go to bed.

"I didn't sleep very well because I knew when I went to bed I was going to be attacked by a parasite that was sucking the blood out of me."

Reynolds said she moved out shortly after exterminators sprayed her apartment, but made sure to mark all the furniture she left behind.

After pest control discovered a bedbug in Rosarri Reynolds apartment, she evacuated the unit and sprayed the furniture so that others wouldn't pick it up or try to sell it. (Rosarri Reynolds)

The ordeal has left a significant toll on Reynolds' financial stability. She said she's lost upwards of $7,000 since the bedbugs were discovered. 

"It was my security deposit, my rent, plus my furnishings because I couldn't take my bed, I couldn't take my furniture, because the bed bugs have a way of staying in there," she said.

She even had to part ways with her cat Yazzie. 

"I had to bring my cat down to the humane society because I couldn't take it with me where I went to stay," she said. 

"It broke my heart."

Property owner responds

Meadowland Manor is owned by Halifax-based Killam Properties and managed by Martek.

Martek told CBC News Wednesday it is conducting an investigation of the property and will have more information in the coming days. 

A spokesperson for Killam told CBC News that Rosarri Reynolds chose to leave her apartment when it was still being sprayed for bedbugs and never returned.

They said there was a bedbug incident in one unit and company protocol is to treat all adjacent units and Reynolds lived in one of those.

The sad part about it is there's a lot of handicapped people [in the building], a lot of people with limited income, there's senior citizens and they're all afraid to speak up.- Rosarri  Reynolds

Killam said it conducts monthly pest control checks at its properties and is not aware of any mice or reports of mould at Meadowland Manor.

But Reynolds said she doesn't buy the property owner's claims.

"I think they're just trying to cover their ass now," she said. 

Reynolds is planning to take the matter to court. 

"I'm taking them to landlord tenants, we have a hearing on May 31."

She said she's speaking out now to alert other potential tenants about her experience and to advocate for tenants still living there. 

"The sad part about it is there's a lot of handicapped people [in the building], a lot of people with limited income, there's senior citizens and they're all afraid to speak up."

Still renting

Shortly after bedbugs were found in her apartment, Reynolds said her friend Teresa Cox discovered that they were still renting new units in the building.

She saw an ad on Kijiji advertising a $99 first month special to renters willing to sign a one year lease. 

"They sprayed on the 27th of February and on the 28th they had an ad on Kijij," said Reynolds. 

Teresa Cox says after bedbugs were discovered at Meadowland Manor, she found a Kijiji ad that showed Killam Properties was still renting units. (Teresa Cox)

Cox said she started a Facebook group called Voices for Meadowland Manor to gather stories from tenants in the building.

While she never lived in Meadowland Manor, she said she originally encouraged Reynolds to move to Kilbride so the two friends could be closer to each other.

After hearing about the bedbugs in the building, she was outraged. 

"I have about 34 members on my group now and I've talked to a lot of people that are tenants and former tenants and they all confirmed that there are bed bugs there," said Cox. 

She said many of the residents are afraid to speak publicly about the bedbugs because of the stigma attached to having them.

Having a history of living with bedbugs can make it harder to move and find a new apartment, said Cox. 

Future uncertain

Reynolds said that while she's found a new place to live in the city, she now has roommates and is still trying to move on from the nightmare.

"It was the worst experience of my life," she said.

"I lost everything, my whole life turned upside down. Financially, emotionally, and physically."

Reynolds was forced to abandon her furniture when she moved out, and said the experience has cost her thousands of dollars. (Rosarri Reynolds)

With files from Julie Skinner

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