Homestead apartments sees surge in cockroach and pest infestations

·4 min read

Homestead Land Holdings has been said to have a considerable amount of roach infestations over the years, but recently it has gotten worse for residents, and become unmanageable for many.

Multiple residents of Homestead buildings in Kingston have come forward publicly complaining about abhorrent conditions that the company refuses to properly address.

Some residents are opting to live in a tent or to couch surf rather than suffer through the poor condition of their unit, even after they've paid rent on the unit.

"I've been in this apartment of homesteads for 3 months, I have had 2 bacterial infections and now I just found a second cockroach in the love of my life's ear," one resident posted publicly on social media this week.

Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, moved into the Mayfair building in May.

After a couple of weeks, she began to notice roaches in her apartment, and by the end of June said she would see roughly fifteen per day in her apartment, and others in common areas.

She said she addressed it with Parkway property manager Isaac Jones, who insisted the issue is a unit-by-unit problem that is due to the lifestyle of those tenants.

She says after several unsuccessful, haphazard attempts at treating the problem, she has had to result to couch surfing.

That is having an impact on not only her physical and mental health but her financial well-being.

"I bought all these groceries at home and now I'm just tossing them, I'm feeding my kid takeout every night because I can't cook," the resident said.

For this month, she says, she's paid over $1,100 to Homestead for an apartment she doesn't even live in just so she can keep good standing with the company.

She feels that the pest issue has taken away her and her three-year-old child's ability to have a place to call home.

“I finally had a place to myself. I went through a lot these past couple years and we finally got a place that was ours’ and everything was good… and then the roaches,” she said.

She added that Homestead has been dishonest about the problems in their buildings, and she hopes residents continue coming forward about these issues so that the company is forced to stop lying to potential tenants.

The issue is not unique to just the Mayfair building, however, as residents of at least three other properties of Homestead have come forward with similar complaints of cockroaches, bed bugs and fleas.

Vi Maclean, who also lives in a Homestead Parkway building, transferred with her family to save some money on rent.

Due to COVID they were unable to properly inspect the location and were nonchalantly told by the building manager that there are roaches in the building, but it was isolated to one apartment and had been dealt with.

The very next morning, she and her husband woke up riddled with flea bites.

McLean says she has no pets and had never experienced issues with fleas or bed bugs at the previous apartment, however, the Homestead building manager insisted that the pests were brought by them.

She says the pest issue doesn’t allow her family to feel at home.

“To come here and have bed bugs, fleas and roaches… was horrible,” McLean said.

“We couldn’t unpack anything, stuff in boxes are still in boxes. We can’t really live in our home and we have to tell our three-year-old ‘you can’t play on the floor, there’s insects’.”

McLean says she and her family are sleeping on an inflatable mattress in the living room while they’re unable to use their bed, and have already had to throw out a couch.

Homestead continues to tell residents it’s a unit-by-unit problem but cockroaches are constantly found in public areas, and residents who have lived there for years say it’s been a problem for ages.

“If it’s been years of these [infestations] then they’re not doing what they can do to treat this, they’re just kind of sweeping it under the rug.”

McLean says the city has been contacted and investigated the building, eventually siding with Homestead that everything was above board.

This makes no sense to McLean, who says clearly there is still an issue, and that Homestead will put the blame on everyone from tenants in the building to U-Haul for not properly cleaning their trucks rather than properly addressing the infestation.

McLean has since organized with other frustrated Homestead residents and has started a petition, and says she hopes to bring forward a class-action lawsuit.

These complaints at Homestead come at a time where cockroach complaints are at their highest in decades, according to Orkin Canada. Calls for cockroaches have doubled between 2017 and 2020 and they are up at least 38% this year.

According to Orkin Canada, the surge in infestations are partially due to cockroaches becoming resistant to certain insecticides over the years.

YGK News reached out to Homestead Land Holdings for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Residents can report property standards issues by contacting City of Kingston Bylaw Enforcement.

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Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, YGK News

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