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'Saw the mouse turn into mice very quickly': Saskatoon woman battles landlord over pest infestation

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A Saskatoon woman is speaking out about what she calls unacceptable conditions in an apartment her elderly mom was living in.

The rental suite is empty now, because Suzanne Flynn moved her mom to a care home in April due to health concerns and unacceptable living conditions from a mouse infestation.

“I got my own traps; electronic traps. I was up all night, I caught 12 or 13 that night alone, and in total I caught 20 myself,” Flynn told CTV News.

Her parents lived in the Nutana area apartment for more than 10 years. Before her dad died in November, Flynn was living with them as a caregiver experiencing the pest problem firsthand.

“I saw the mouse turn into mice very quickly,” she says.

She called Boardwalk Communities, which runs the building, and they sent someone quickly who brought mouse traps. But Flynn says it wasn’t enough, fearing they were already in the walls. Once she removed her mom’s furniture last month, she saw the magnitude of the issue.

“Now that I cleaned it out I couldn’t believe the amount of poop that was in there and my mom was living in this condition,” she said.

She said she’s had a string of messages with the company managing the apartment, but she claims they haven’t reached any real solutions.

Boardwalk regional director Lindsay Anderson told CTV News in an email that they “take situations like this very seriously.”

“We want to minimize the impact to our all of our resident members. We have an in-house team that does fantastic work solving pest issues for our resident members.”

Anderson said Boardwalk strives to provide a clean and safe environment for residents, and they recognize it’s the landlord’s responsibility.

“The most important thing that a resident must do is report the issue to us. This gives us time to get into the suite and rectify the issue before it spreads. Unfortunately, this was reported very late to us.”

Flynn disputes that, saying she had taken care of her parents for three years and never saw the mice or droppings prior to October.

The Saskatchewan Landlords Association told CTV News in an email that they encourage landlords and tenants to have a conversation and try to come to a joint agreement if possible.

“A rental unit must be in a good state of repair and fit for habitation. Tenants who feel they are deserving of compensation for damages related to issues in their rental unit can file a monetary claim at the office of residential tenancies and provide evidence.”

Ultimately Flynn wants some compensation for items she had to throw out that were contaminated. She had to pay about $2,000 for a disposal bin, and claims to be out thousands of dollars for that and food waste.

Flynn’s friend Anna Maton helped with the clean up.

“Having to throw away items that are sentimental and mean so much to somebody because of the mice damage was disappointing and upsetting,” Maton said.

They had to throw out Flynn’s dad’s desk because it was covered in mouse feces and had droppings in all the drawers.

There are plans to take the company to court to recoup some of the money lost.

Boardwalk let her mom out of the lease about 4 months early because of a doctor’s note.

According to Flynn, Boardwalk kept the damage deposit, saying they plan to gut the entire apartment before renting to another tenant. 

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