Saskatoon

Bed bugs infest Avenue Living apartment block, Saskatoon tenants say

Tenants in apartment buildings across Saskatchewan say a Calgary-based company, Avenue Living, isn't doing enough to address bedbug infestations and other maintenance issues.

Saskatchewan renters calling on building owner to take action

A tenant of a west-side Saskatoon apartment checks for bugs. 0:40

Tenants in apartment buildings across Saskatchewan say a Calgary-based company isn't doing enough to address bedbug infestations and other maintenance issues.

The tenant of a west-side apartment block said the building was infested with bed bugs.
A Saskatoon tenant is speaking out about the condition of the apartment block, owned by Avenue Living, that she lives in. She doesn't want to be identified for fear of getting evicted.

She said her apartment building is infested with bedbugs. 

"Oh my Lord, gross," she said. "I couldn't sleep I was so stressed and all I dreamt about was bugs."

Last summer, she found insects in her bedroom and got bit.

She said she's repeatedly asked Avenue Living to have the complex exterminated. Nothing has been done, she said.

Living condition 'unbearable'

Other tenants in the building face similar problems with insects. Several current and former Avenue Living tenants across the province are venting online about a lack of maintenance at some of the company's 74 apartment buildings in Saskatchewan.

A tenant of a west-side Saskatoon apartment block shows off her bed bug bites. (Courtesy of tenant)
"I can see them at night crawling up the wall," said Candy Pritchard. 

She said she has been trying for nine months to get Avenue Living to get rid of bed bugs in her Saskatoon apartment. 

"I've got to cover my food," she said. "I've got to put my clothes in bags and everything has got to be packaged. You can't even sleep. It's ridiculous." 

Former tenant Lee Miller moved out of his Avenue Living apartment before his lease ended because of bedbugs. He said it was the worst experience in his life. 

"It was becoming unbearable, " he said. "I didn't want to take them with me so I threw out all my furniture."

The woman has taken several photos documenting bug infested furniture that she says was left outside the building for weeks.

She said an exterior door was also left in disrepair for weeks. Also, some electrical and plumbing issues never get addressed.

"You call the maintenance number, which is based in Calgary, nothing happens, nobody gets back to you. It's like you don't exist," she said. 

Former employee speaks out

A former Avenue Living employee told CBC News several of the company's buildings in Saskatchewan are in disrepair.

A tenant of a west-side Saskatoon apartment block said these bug infested mattresses sat outside the building for several weeks. (Courtesy of tenant)
"It was a nightmare," she said. "I remember having pleas from tenants to even fix simple things that would go ignored despite me putting in repeated maintenance requests."

No one from Avenue Living would agree to an interview. However, the company provided CBC with a statement signed by Jodi Baker, vice president of communications.

It reads:

  • "Our tenants can call our contact center 7 days a week and receive immediate support."
  • "We have undertaken the most aggressive (pest) treatment plan that includes a preventative maintenance program to tackle these concerns."
  • "Avenue Living has dedicated in excess of 55 million dollars towards the necessary capital improvements."

The tenant CBC News spoke to says she's still waiting months later for Avenue Living to address her building's insect problem. Her rent, now at $830 a month, is set to increase $105 in May.

"They don't care about their tenants, I think," she said, adding the company is more interested in something else.

"The money," she said.



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