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‘I’m not his slave’: Burnaby tenant says landlord forcing him to shovel snow

Should the tenant just help out or should the landlord get to work?
iStock photo

The City of Burnaby has asked people to be “snow angels” by helping elderly residents or those with mobility challenges with snow clearing.

Jake is fine with volunteering to help out a senior citizen. What he isn’t fine with is his Burnaby landlord “ordering” him to shovel the sidewalk out front of the basement suite he rents as well as the driveway.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Jake. “My landlord called me and told me – not asked me – to start shovelling the sidewalk in front of the house and then the driveway. He said he would be driving over later wanted to be able to get into the driveway without any issues. I’m not his slave, but he seems to think because I live here that it’s my responsibility. I think it’s the landlord’s responsibility to fulfill the obligations of a homeowner. Snow is supposed to be cleared off the sidewalks by 10 a.m. and that shouldn’t be a tenant’s thing to do. I’m refusing but his threatening to charge me more if he gets fined by the city.”

This is an issue after Burnaby was hit by nearly 30 cm of snow earlier this week with more in the forecast.

"I'm digging in my heels on this one," said Jake.

The city fine, according to the Burnaby website, is $100.

For the record, this is what the City of Burnaby has on its website regarding to clearing snow.

Owners or occupiers of single-family, two-family, multi-family, industrial, commercial or institutional properties are responsible for:

  • Removing any snow or ice from all sidewalks and multi-use paths surrounding their property no later than 10 a.m. every day, including holidays, per Section 31 of Burnaby's Street and Traffic Bylaw.


Learn the correct way to remove snow this winter.

  • Shovel and de-ice your sidewalk and driveway.
  • Pile snow on your property or boulevard, not on the road.
  • Leave 1 m between garbage and recycling bins and cars or snowbanks.
  • When shoveling out your vehicle, pile the snow on the boulevard or your property, not on the road.

So, what do you think? I personally think a landlord should be out clearing their own property if they don’t have some sort of maintenance agreement already with the tenant.

I see this as the same as landscaping issues. If there isn’t an agreement in place, then that is up to the landlord to care for the property.

Also, ordering your tenant to do something is bad form. Get over yourself.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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