If you live in Ontario and are one of the 30% of the population who rents, you may have asked yourself this question a few times when winter rolls around: Who is liable for winter maintenance and what happens if an injury occurs?
According to Section 26 of Ontario Regulation 517/06 of the Maintenance Standards and Residential Tenancies Act 2006, a landlord has the responsibility of removing all snow and ice on the properties exterior common areas.
Exterior common areas must be managed in a suitable condition for their intent of use and free of hazards. For these purposes, the following shall be removed:
Under Section 28 of Ontario Regulation 517/06 of the Maintenance Standards and Residential Tenancies Act 2006, surface of driveways, etc, it states that all driveways, ramps, parking garages, parking areas, paths, walkways, landings, outside stairs, and any similar area shall be maintained to provide a safe surface for normal use.
This means it is a landlord's responsibility to remove all snow and ice from the above stated areas around your rental. Whether it is landlord themselves, or they hire a third-party company, action must be taken to ensure these areas are safe. These rules also outline that there is a time limit given for when snow must be cleared within its gathering time (these time limits vary from city to city). Therefore, as a landlord, it is essential to know by-law regulations in your municipality to avoid any issues or fines.
Sometimes landlords make agreements/contracts that outline that winter maintenance is the tenant's obligation, this type of agreement is common in rentals of single-family homes. If your landlord has given you a separate agreement outside your lease agreement for snow removal, it is best to consult a lawyer for an expert opinion and advice on how to proceed. In some instances, those with a separate contract can still hold their landlord liable in court for mismanagement and neglect leading to an injury.
When it comes to injuries resulting from winter maintenance neglect, it is important to know your rights and the steps involved in making a claim.
If you have suffered a slip and fall due to maintenance neglect, you must be able to legally prove that neglect was involved and furthermore, intentional. You must be able to prove without a reasonable doubt that the landlord failed to provide a safe and usable area by not performing adequate maintenance. From there, a lawyer would be able to assess your situation and inform you of the next steps for proceeding with legal action.
If you have been injured by a slip and fall accident from uncleared snow or ice and want to know more about your legal rights when it comes to winter maintenance, contact us at Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation: 905-522-9799.
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