Saskatoon tenant fights bat infestation

Christina Abbott says bats have taken over her Saskatoon apartment, and won't leave despite multiple attempts to remove them.

Mainstreet Equity Corp. says it's tried repeatedly to rid the apartment of bats

Christina Abbott says despite repeated removal attempts by her building's owner, the bats won't leave. (CBC)

Bats now call an apartment on Third Avenue North home, despite several eviction notices from pest control companies.

Christina Abbott rents the apartment from Mainstreet Equity Corp.

She said the problem started in late April when she discovered a bat in her suite. A week, later there were two bats. By Friday, Abbott said there were five bats, including three that she'd found in the bathtub. 

Abbott said her worst experience in the apartment was in the middle of the night when she felt something and then heard a noise. She found a bat sprawled out near her bed.

"Just thinking about having been sleeping with a bat in my bed is traumatizing," said Abbott.

She underwent a series of rabies shots as a precaution.

Owners say they've tried repeatedly to get rid of bats

Sheena Keslick, Mainstreet Equity's vice president of operations, said the company has been working hard to get rid of the winged pests.

"We have been in the apartment several times," said Keslick. "We've never neglected her calls. We've never not responded. We've sent multiple different contractors out."

Keslick said a pest control company filled visible holes in Abbott's apartment with steel wool and mesh. A carpenter also filled exterior holes, added crown moulding, and raised the baseboards six centimetres.

Tenant offered smaller, pricier apartment

But Abbott, who said she's spent most nights on her dad's couch, sees things differently.

"If they were living in this building I have a feeling that things would be moving a lot faster," Abbott told CBC. "I feel that it's really just been put off."

Keslick said she offered Abbott a suite in a different building, but the tenant turned it down because it was smaller and more expensive. Other buildings owned by the company do not allow dogs as big as Abbott’s, due to a five kilogram weight restriction.

"Yes, of course there are bats. I'm not denying that," said Keslick. "Have we tried multiple attempts to rectify the problem? Yes, I believe that we have," she said.

Company will not renew lease

Keslick said Abbott told her she wanted to stay in the apartment as long as the company can rectify the problem.   

"And then on Thursday she came back and said she had psychological trauma," said Keslick. "At that point, I said 'okay, you're never going to be okay living in that apartment.’ Then we're not renewing your lease."

"I feel really frustrated," said Abbott, whose lease ends in June.

"I was hoping to meet with pest control and make that decision for myself, after hearing what kind of timeline we're expecting, what kind of work is actually being done on the place."

Keslick said the company has agreed to provide Abbott with a rent rebate for the days she had to stay elsewhere because of the bats.

Abbott said she had to argue for that compensation. She also believes Mainstreet Equities should cover the cost of moving out.