Bedbugs drove young mother out of her Chilliwack apartment – Vancouver Sun

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Amber Ragan was excited to have her first home, but 18 months later a bug infestation forced the single mom to live in a hotel

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Amber Ragan and her four year old son Elijah moved into their Chilliwack one-bedroom apartment in September, 2019.

Ragan was excited to have a place to call home. It was her first apartment on her own, and she was hoping to get Elijah, who has autism, settled.

But Ragan said it wasnt long before she discovered the apartment was infested with cockroaches.

It was a rocky start, said Ragan, a member of the St:l Nation.

Ragan said she let the on-site property manager know her unit was infested, but no action was taken. Then came a rent increase last fall, allegedly to fund increased pest control.

In October we were notified there would be a rent increase, stating why, when and how much it was going to be, so they could get a better pest control company, even though they hadnt really done anything yet, said Ragan.

Ragan paid the rent increase, despite a provincial freeze on rent increases due to COVID-19, which is in place until July 2021.

After tenants pointed out that rents in the province are frozen due to the pandemic, they were given refunds, said Ragan. Then, in early February, came the bedbugs.

I was just going to bed, I felt something on my hand. I swatted at my hand and turned on my light and it was still there.

When she pulled back the bedcovers, she saw the mattress seams teeming with bedbugs.

I started panicking, said Ragan. We left in the middle of the night.

With nowhere else to go, she checked into a hotel where she has no access to cooking facilities.

Marina Garmon, Program and Services Coordinator for the Unique Get Together Society reached out to Postmedia on Ragans behalf after attempts to get the infestation rectified by the landlord failed. Garmon is also planning to file a complaint with the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch to get the cost of Ragans hotel reimbursed.

She just paid $1,800 to move to a hotel. Her son was covered in bites, said Garmon, who describes Ragan as kind, big hearted and a great mom.

Andy Kay, who identified himself as a property manager for the 51-unit building at 9482 William Street in Chilliwack, said the landlord spends thousands of dollars annually on pest control.

The building is primarily targeted towards lower income people and a lot of them are on welfare so we know that sometimes they bring in used furniture or mattresses and that has caused issues with roaches in the past. We dont have that many bedbugs, primarily roaches, said Kay.

Kay clarified that he was not suggesting Ragan was the cause of the bedbugs, and provided Postmedia with several receipts showing that in January two units in the building had been treated for bedbugs, and other units had been sprayed for cockroaches.

Kay said he had asked Ragan for access to the unit so it could be treated, but Garmon and Ragan say they did not receive adequate notice, and that treatment of a single unit is not enough.

The whole building needs to be treated, said Garmon.

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Bedbugs drove young mother out of her Chilliwack apartment - Vancouver Sun

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