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Opinion: ‘Final straw’: Burnaby landlord from hell refuses disabled woman’s pleas to clear snow

She is now lawyering up

 “L.T. in Burnaby” says the recent winter snowfall – and mistreatment by her landlord during it – is the “last straw” for her.

She’s now ready to take legal action.

L.T. is disabled with several conditions that have gotten worse over the years, including her needing a wheelchair at certain times.

The need for a wheelchair started after she had began renting a Burnaby suite on the ground floor of a house. She can barely afford it and relies on family financial support.

“When I started using a wheelchair, I told me landlord that I needed a few changes to improve accessibility,” L.T. said. “She was livid. She said I would need to pay more in rent to offset the cost but I fought that. I get that it’s more money for her, but what am I supposed to do?”

Things have only gotten worse over the years – both with L.T.’s health and her relationship with her landlord, who often uses derogatory and ableist language to refer to her.

Things really got bad when it first started snowing at the end 2021. Burnaby got a huge dump of snow, which made life miserable for L.T. because the landlord didn’t react with actions to clear the snow so she could leave the house.

“This hadn’t been a problem in the past because there was a male tenant who lived upstairs who would shovel,” L.T. said. “But that guy moved out and the unit is empty. It’s just me. I contacted the landlord and said she needed to do something and she said it wasn’t her ‘problem.’ I reminded her that the city bylaws say the sidewalks need to be cleared each morning after it snows and that she needs to do something also so I can get out of the house. She got all huffy and finally got someone to clear the sidewalk, but get this, she didn’t have them do the driveway or the path around the house so I could leave. She did it on purpose. It’s now snowed several times and I’ve been stuck each time. This was the final straw. I’m contacting different government agencies and a lawyer and I’m going to do what I should have done before. This is unacceptable. You think I want to live like this? I don’t.”

L.T. definitely has grounds for legal action. This is horrifying, but not exactly unexpected in our ableist society.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.