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Saskatoon mother won't pay rent until Sask. Housing deals with rodents

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A Saskatoon mother who has been struggling to get Saskatchewan Housing to deal with the rodent infestation in her place has decided to stop paying rent until the problem is fixed.

Dominika Kosowska fears she’ll be evicted from her Sturby Place apartment for non payment, but that’s not stopping her fight.

Kosowska recently purchased an air purifier to keep the air in their apartment clean given that she says the building is infested with rats and mice. She recently caught a rat in a sticky trap and hears them scratching in the walls at night.

“With my last rent money, I bought an air purifier so we can breathe some sort of clear air in here,” Kosowska told CTV News.

When that rent money wasn’t paid to Saskatchewan Housing this month she received a letter. Saying that she must pay rent in order to ensure she keeps her tenancy intact. Kosowska is taking a stand and refusing to pay until proper extermination is done in the Eastview building.

Since her story aired on CTV News on Nov. 2, she’s received dozens of messages and social media posts.

Kosowska admits some were hurtful because they said this an immigrant problem.

Others were encouraging — coming from those in similar situations. Those include Indigenous residents living on reserve as well as newcomers and others in Sask. Housing she added.

That response has given her momentum to continue to advocate for others.

“What I wanted was to open the door to conversation about unacceptable living conditions because it’s not affecting only immigrants, it’s affecting indigenous people or those with mental or physical handicaps,” she says.

Her local MLA even received calls after the story aired.

“She’s really being left alone to deal with this problem. My office has offered her any support she needs and will continue to provide that to her,” Saskatoon Eastview MLA Matt Love told CTV News.

In the last week she had a visit from a Sask. Housing exterminator who put out more traps. Something she says hasn’t worked in the past.

“He also scanned the walls with a heating camera, and he said they’re walking between the walls and vents.” 6

There was no revelation there she says.

The building supervisor also visited and offered to move her to another building entirely, but that location was problematic because it was on the other side of the city in Holiday Park. She can’t afford movers so it isn’t possible.

Roger Parenteau, Executive Director of Housing Operations with the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation offered this statement to CTV News:

“We aren’t able to provide specific information about a tenant’s situation. As part of our tenancy agreement, we do require rent to be paid at the beginning of the month. If a tenant has concerns that they may not be able to pay their rent, we ask that they connect with their local housing authority.

We are always here to help and encourage any tenant who suspects their property may have a pest issue to connect with their local housing authority immediately. We take the safety and wellbeing of our tenants seriously.”

Kosowska does want to move out of Sask. Housing and says she had recent job interviews, which make that seem like a possibility. 

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