Rats and pests have been a concern in big cities for centuries. Wherever there is a concentration of people, garbage tends to accumulate. This trash turns into an excellent source of food for rats, mice, bugs, and other unsavory characters, who quickly move in to take advantage of the bounty of leftovers. Toronto is not immune to this phenomenon:
- Calls to Toronto pest control companies about rats have been increasing about 10 to 15% per year for each of the last five years. The majority of these calls have been from residential areas.
- Toronto Public Health reported 2,450 animal-human encounters in 2013.
Despite these encounters, it should be noted that Toronto is comparatively clean and safe when it comes to potential health issues from pest populations. In fact, Toronto has not had a report of incidents of rabies in 35 years.
Even if health concerns arising out of these pests are not a huge issue, you still likely do not want these unwelcome guests in your home. With multi-unit developments like condo buildings in particular, you may face an increased risk of pests: some of your neighbors may not keep a particularly clean home, and more residents collectively means more accumulated garbage.
ICC is Toronto’s leader among other property management companies offering premier property management services that help your community avoid pest problems. Your Toronto property manager can have a big impact on your community’s ability to deal with pest problems, and to prevent them from happening in the future through good management practices.
The root of most pest problems starts with how residents live within their units. Generally speaking, pests are attracted to food debris; if your unit is clean but your neighbors are allowing crumbs and spills to go unaddressed, that can mean pests for both you and your messy neighbors.
In many instances, these issues are addressed through a condo corporation’s Rules and Declarations.
- Most corporations have a prohibition on activities by owners and residents that might interfere with their neighbors’ “use and enjoyment” of their property. This includes cleanliness – if a resident’s messy living is attracting pests, then he or she is in violation of that particular provision.
- Aside from individual condo board policies, the Condominium Act in Ontario prohibits unit owners from allowing a condition to exist that will result in damage to the property – so if a unit owner knows about a pest problem, he or she is obligated under law to report it to their Toronto condo management company.
This means that, to an extent, what a unit owner or resident does inside the unit may be subject to regulation by the condo corporation and, by extension, require intervention via condo management services.
What This Means for You as a Condo Owner
The implications of these duties and obligations are two-fold: first, you are prohibited from maintaining your condo in such a way that you attract pests that could damage both your own unit and those of your neighbors.
Second, you have an obligation to comply with reasonable requests and efforts by your Toronto condo management company to eradicate any infestations that occur. Note that this should be preceded by reasonable notice by the condo manager.
It is important for condo owners to comply with these types of requests. Obviously, pests are a problem that affect multiple people in any given condo building – if you stand in the way of efforts to eliminate a pest problem, you run the risk of being personally and financially responsible for ongoing efforts to remove the pests due to refusing access to your unit.
Getting More Information
Understandably, many unit owners become concerned when they are required to grant access to their personal living spaces. Furthermore, when it comes to pest control, they legitimately may be worried about safety – no one wants to deal with toxins in their homes that may affect their own health, as well as the health of children and pets.
Some unit owners also have environmental concerns, and want to make efforts to control pests in a humane way. When these types of issues come to light, then good condo management services must come into play to address residents’ worries.
The primary way to avoid problems is to engage in appropriate and effective communication between management, owners, and residents. We highlight many of these types of best practices in condo management in our eBook, which is available online for download from our website. This eBook offers many insights on how to facilitate good communication and how to request information or suggest changes in a way that is mutually beneficial for both residents and property managers.
You do have a right to ask for additional information; it is a good idea to contact your property manager directly and request specifics on what kinds of pesticides are being used, if any, and to get more information about methods that the company is using to address pests. If you disagree with methods being used, or have other concerns, then you may want to provide additional information to both the board and your condo manager in order to find a peaceful resolution to any pest issues.
Problems with pests will likely continue to be an issue throughout Toronto for years to come, as more people join this thriving population. Revitalization efforts can also stimulate rodent activity.
- In recent news, it has been noted that the rat population downtown has been mobilized due to the $1 billion renovation of Union Station.
- The activity as resulted in large populations of rats becoming displaced, prompting them to move into new spaces that had lower rodent activity before the construction began.
- It is estimated that the construction project will continue into 2016, meaning more rat populations may emerge in the meantime.
If you are in an area affected by construction, it is more important than ever to have a good Toronto condo management company ready to serve your building or condo complex. Experienced professionals like ICC can help you roll out programs and initiatives to educate unit owners on pest control, and can take action quickly whenever pests become a problem for your building.