Woman claims Whitby retirement home evicted her after finding bed bugs in room

A 79-year-old woman says she has been kicked out of a Durham Region retirement residence after she allegedly found bed bugs in her apartment. But as Jasmine Pazzano explains, the parent company of the facility says eviction was a last resort.

A 79-year-old woman is alleging that a Whitby, Ont., retirement home has kicked her out of her apartment for having bed bugs in her room.

The Court at Pringle Creek has evicted Donna Morris months after she says she first found the insects in her apartment. Morris claims the bed bugs stayed in her place even after pest-control experts sprayed the room a handful of times.

“They throwing me out,” she says of the residence’s eviction notice, which she received on Jan. 7, about six months after she started living at the home.

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Morris’ daughter, Tracey Lakovnik, says that when her mother first saw the bed bugs in her room early last fall, she sought the help of the Region of Durham.

“I was no expert on bed bugs, and that’s why I took samples to the health department,” Lakovnik said while holding up a plastic bag filled with paper towels and squashed bed bugs, which she claims came from her mother’s room. “They identified them as bed bugs, and that’s when they told me they couldn’t go in because it’s a privately owned building.”

Durham’s health department confirmed to Global News that it received an inquiry about bed bugs at the Court at Pringle Creek but mentioned that this complaint was not attached to a specific individual.

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Morris says the staff at the home confined her to her room after she found the bugs.

“I was in my bedroom and I had to stay there,” said Morris. “I couldn’t go out and visit the lady across the hall. She was forbidden to have anything to do with me. We were friends before that. She sat at my table, and we were great friends.”

The residence then evicted her from her apartment, Morris said.

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Global News visited the Court at Pringle Creek, and staff members declined to speak on camera but the home’s parent company, Atria Senior Living, sent a statement. The statement says, in part, that “there was a period of two hours during which we told the resident to stay in her room … as advised by the pest control company” and that staff at the residence “immediately let her know” that she could leave her apartment after this.

Regarding Morris’ eviction, the company’s statement says the residence “provided her with options” to help them “remediate the bed bug issue.”

“Despite our best efforts,” continues the statement, “we have not — after repeated attempts and over 12 weeks — received the necessary to resolve this issue and protect the health and well-being of our other residents and staff members.”

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Morris has been staying at an Oshawa hotel since her eviction, and Lakovnik says her mother will soon be moving into a retirement home outside Durham Region.

“My mom deserves to be safe and healthy and enjoy her retirement days,” said Lakovnik.

Lakovnik says she is considering taking legal action against Atria Senior Living for how the company handled the bed bugs issue

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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