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Widespread inability to access tenants’ units hampering bug and rodent control in LMCH public housing

High-rise units operated by London Middlesex Community Housing, seen on May 29, 2024. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV News London) High-rise units operated by London Middlesex Community Housing, seen on May 29, 2024. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV News London)
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The deputy mayor is pitching a more aggressive approach to deal with tenants who are impacting pest control efforts undertaken by London and Middlesex Community Housing (LMCH).

In a letter to council colleagues, Deputy Mayor Shawn Lewis and Coun. Hadleigh McAlister presented the findings of a recent analysis that reveals the extent to which an inability to enter public housing units is undermining the effectiveness of the agency’s pest control program.

A recent analysis by LMCH determined that a pest control program in the first quarter of 2023 was unable to access a large number of units:

  • 36 per cent of seniors units
  • 49 per cent of adult units
  • 39 per cent of family units

Remnant populations of rodents and bugs are able to avoid extermination in the inaccessible units and then spread through common areas back into treated units.

Among tenants, it has led to frustration and a perception that the pest control program isn’t working.

“We have to be able to do a whole building treatment to be really effective, and these non-compliance issues are really a barrier to getting these issues resolved,” explained Lewis, who sits on the LMCH Board.

A rodent bait dispenser, seen on May 29, 2024. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV News London)

The research determined the primary reasons were:

  • LMCH was unable to provide access
  • tenant refusals
  • units not properly prepared by the tenant

Lewis said the result is impacting the quality of life for all tenants, “If the tenant in non-compliance is resisting for months and months and months, that's months and months and months for that infestation to spread repeatedly.”

Tenants who are unable to prep their own units for pest control can receive assistance from LMCH.

The research determined that the assistance is primarily being utilized by people living in seniors’ buildings.

Lewis hopes community conversations and relationship building will help bring some tenants into compliance for the sake of the common good.

However, in other cases it may require stronger action by the housing provider.

“If we can not start to get more compliance, we are going to have to start to get more aggressive with N5 notices for eviction,” he told CTV News. “We have to be fair to the other tenants in these units, and fair to the public dollar that is paying for all of these treatments over and over and over again.”

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