Don’t let the bedbugs bite

Bedbugs are tiny insects that may  show up in  your apartment unexpectedly, brought in from the metro, a friend’s house, through your neighbour’s apartment, anywhere really! They are brownish insects about 4mm (1/8 in) visible to the naked eye and can be seen on your bed;  they leave reddish bite marks on the skin that itch but are non fatal.  Living with bedbugs is highly unpleasant, and eliminating them requires a professional exterminator! Keep in mind that your landlord is always responsible for the extermination of pests in your apartment.


  1. Call your landlord and inform them that your apartment is infested as soon as you see one bedbug or find bites on your skin; do not wait for the problem to solve itself or wait until you see more than one. Once notified your landlord must act immediately to correct the problem; this requires your landlord to hire an exterminator that can completely eliminate all of the bedbugs.
  2. Prepare your apartment for extermination. Put all of your clothes, towels, and bedsheets in plastic bags in preparation to be washed. Make sure you think of everything that could potentially host these unpleasant critters.
  3. Leave your apartment for at least four hours after the extermination has been completed.  In the meantime (or once you get back,) wash everything in hot water and dry on high heat. Even your shoes may be hosts for these unpleasant guests! If you cannot wash an item you could consider placing it in a freezer to kill any eggs; make sure to research if any of these practices will damage your possessions!

    If your landlord does not act or the problem persists with extermination:

  4. Write a demand letter and send it through registered mail requesting further action for the removal of the pests.

    If problems persist:

  5. Open a file for a hearing at the Régie du logement.
  6. Fax your local city inspector with the demand letter you sent your landlord.

For more information consult this handout on Bedbugs from the Government of Canada.


My landlord says he will bring his ‘exterminator friend’ to treat the apartment with chemicals he bought from the hardware store, does this count as an extermination treatment?

No! Over the counter insect treatments do not work; in fact they can make the bugs more resistant to the exterminator’s treatment. The only kind of chemicals that kill bed bugs are not available to the public.

My landlord says I am responsible for bringing the bugs in because I had friends over, does this mean I have to pay for the exterminator?

No, bedbugs can be brought in from  anywhere thus it is  impossible to pinpoint where they were caught. It is the landlord’s responsibility to exterminate the apartment and pay the bill. For preventions sake, be careful when picking up second hand upholstered furniture and be sure to clean it well if you do. Second hand clothing should be put in a sealed plastic bag then in the dryer for 30mins.

If the bugs are coming from my apartment do I have to pay for the whole building to be exterminated?

No, it is the landlords’ responsibility to maintain the dwelling up to standard and thus the landlord is responsible for exterminating the entire building in the event of an infestation.

The apartment I have just signed a lease for had bed bugs in the past, am I doomed to have them again?

Bedbugs are very common in Montréal especially in dense areas with a high turnover rate. It is important to vacuum on a regular basis and to keep an eye out for bug bites. It is also important to act right away in the event that you do have them. However, it is also important to remember that there are ways of dealing with these insects and that it does not have to be the end of the world if you get them. Make sure however that the problem has been dealt with before  you move in.

My landlord paid for an exterminator however they only came one time and I’m afraid the bugs are not gone, what should I do?

It is your landlord’s responsibility to hire a professional exterminator in the order to completely eliminate all bedbugs. It is the exterminator’s responsibility to fully treat the issue. Thus the exterminator should eliminate the bedbugs and their eggs which require them to follow up on the first round of treatment and apply another one if necessary.

How should I prepare for the extermination?

In preparation for the extermination clear away all clutter from the rooms in question. Make sure to thoroughly vacuum all mattresses, furniture, and bed frames and baseboards beforehand and to dispose of the vacuum bag when finished. Ensure that all clothing is in plastic bags and bookshelves and other shelving units and closets are cleared. Once these items and clothing are tightly sealed they should be left in the room in order to benefit from the treatment. Remember that if you need to dispose of furniture to put it in sealed plastic bags and to indicate that they are infested in order to prevent further spreading.

Do I have to leave my apartment for the extermination?

Yes, everyone living in the unit (including pets) must leave it before the treatment begins and not re-enter for a minimum of 3-4 hours after the exterminator arrives. The chemicals that are used are very strong thus staying away for longer is safer especially if you are pregnant, have young children or have asthma.