OTTAWA -- A City of Ottawa Committee is pushing forward a by-law aimed at improving the lives of those living in rental housing.

The by-law also aims to help those dealing with pests at these properties.

Mice, bedbugs, and cockroaches are just some of the pests which tenants in Ottawa are living with.

Darin Loewy says he has been dealing with cockroaches in his downtown Ottawa apartment since 2016.

“For years now I’ve slept with the lights on,” Loewy said.

“If I don’t - I’ll have roaches all over me… I wake up in the morning, go into the living room and turn on the lights, there’s one on the ceiling, there’s one on the coffee table.”

Loewy says his landlord has had pest control treat his unit sixteen times and believes the problem originates elsewhere in the building.

The property management company responsible for his building says it has done preventative treatments elsewhere in the building.

“We don’t like tenants having these issues,” said Adam Pearce with Sleepwell Property Management.

“It doesn’t make our lives easier; it certainly doesn’t make their lives easier.” But Pearce also thinks tenants have a responsibility when it comes to dealing with the issue – including keeping a unit clean.

“You have to have an empty kitchen, you have to have accessible areas for the pest control company,” Pearce said.

The by-law would be a new tool that could help both sides in these situations.

City council will vote on the by-law next week.

Councillor Jenna Sudds is also the Chair of the Community and Protective Services Committeeand. She believes the by-law is ‘a big step forward’.

The new bylaw establishes ‘common minimum standards’ for all rental properties.

This includes both privately owned ones and social housing units.

It will address things like pest control and improving the lives of tenants.

Sudds says it will mean better living accommodations for tenants, better standards and more accountability for property owners.

Some landlords also think it’s a good idea. John Dickie is with the Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization.

He believes the by-law imposes obligations on both parties.

“Under the by-law, it will be an offence for a tenant to fail to report an infestation,” Dickie said.

“It will be an offence for a tenant to allow conditions in their unit that harbour pests.”

Loewy is hopeful this will help his situation.

“All I want to do is live cock-roach free.”