One of the most beneficial aspects of renting an apartment unit is that the majority of maintenance falls on the shoulders of someone else. While it may be your job to ensure your own unit is clean and functioning properly, thus prompting some deep cleaning or the changing of burnt-out lightbulbs, the property as a whole is your landlord’s responsibility. This can be a great advantage for renters who are less than intrigued by yard maintenance or plumbing repairs.

With the changing of the Canadian seasons comes an ever-evolving list of duties that a landlord must perform, particularly outdoors. As landlords are in charge of the property, it is up to them to ensure the exterior of the building is in good condition and meeting city bylaws and standards. But when winter comes and snow begins to fall, one may wonder who is responsible for snow removal. While the landlord manages the property, it is the tenants who are utilizing it– so who does the task fall to? Let’s take a look.

Are landlords responsible for snow removal?

Generally, the answer to this question is yes. Unless otherwise stated in the lease agreement, landlords are responsible for shovelling snow or hiring a company to do the work for them. It can actually be illegal at times for a landlord to include such a responsibility in the small print of your contract, so ensure you read your agreement carefully and thoroughly. However, reputable landlords will take full responsibility for snow removal and ensure their property is in peak condition.

It is standard practice for snow to be removed within 24 to 48 hours of a snowfall. Therefore, a landlord is not required to be outside every few hours to keep the walkways clear, but it’s likely you’ll see them around your apartment every few days in the winter. The city can actually fine property owners who fail to remove snow from public walkways, so it’s usually in the landlord’s best interest anyway to tackle snow removal sooner rather than later.

The primary exception to this expectation is if you are renting a single-family home. In such a situation, it is the norm to shovel your own driveways and walkways, as you are inhabiting the entire property and are treating the house as if it were your own. While it should be expected, this duty should also be outlined in the agreement to ensure no confusion or neglect of chores.

 

Can landlords delegate snow removal?

Absolutely! Landlords are more than able to hire third-party contractors who tackle snow removal for a living. Not only does it ensure that the job is done well, as a professional is doing it, but it also reduces the workload of the landlord. Simply ensure that the frequency at which the snow removal company is supposed to arrive makes sense for your property. For example, hiring them once a week may help a bit, but the landlord may still have to step in and take care of the shovelling a few more days of the week. Simply ensure schedules align and that the property isn’t being neglected.

Being a landlord entails a lot of work, so there’s no shame in reaching out and asking for assistance. Snow removal, in particular, is a task that needs to happen more regularly than others, so rather than making your way down to the rental property every day, enlist the services professionals.

Ultimately, the landlord has an obligation to keep both the building and the rental units in a good state of repair and ensure they comply with health and safety standards. This extends to exterior maintenance, including snow removal.