Can A Tenant Sue For a Slip and Fall On Ice Where Lease Indicates That Tenant is Responsible for Maintenance? Ontario Injury Lawyer Discusses Your Rights
If you were injured due to a slip and fall on ice on residential property where you are a tenant, you may be able to sue your landlord if they failed to maintain the area. Some residential leases include language that indicates that the tenant is responsible for ice and snow. Even in these situations, you may be able to claim for your injuries if the property owner did not maintain the premises.
The Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Montgomery v. Van, 2009 ONCA 808 (“Montgomery”) involved the situation, and the Court determined that landlords remain responsible to fulfill their statutory duty to ensure the prescribed maintenance standards are met. In that case, the tenant commenced an action against the landlord for damages after slipping and falling on the premises. The landlord contended that the lease agreement provides that the “Tenants are responsible for keeping their walkway and stairway clean (including snow removal).” As such, the landlord asserted that the tenant’s injuries were due to her own negligence in that “she failed to keep her walkway in a state of good repair, including free from snow and ice”.
In paragraph 13 of the decision, Juriansz J.A. stated that “in order to be effective, a clause that provides that a tenant will provide snow removal services must constitute a contractual obligation severable from the tenancy agreement.” Juriansz J.A. indicated that, in Montgomery, the provision is inextricable from the tenancy agreement for the following reasons:
1. No consideration for snow removal task was indicated in the lease agreement;
2. The tenant lives in one of several basement apartments of a multi-unit residential complex;
3. The provision vaguely places the task of snow removal on the tenants jointly;
4. The lease agreement does not set out specifically what part of the complex’s common walkways this tenant agrees to keep clean and does not stipulate on what schedule she would perform the joint obligation; and
5. The provision fails to define this individual tenant’s task clearly enough to create an enforceable contractual obligation.
Accordingly, the Court of Appeal concluded that landlords have a responsibility to fulfill their statutory duty to ensure the prescribed maintenance standards are met.
Based on this Court of Appeal decision, you may still be able to claim for your injuries if you are a tenant and the landlord was negligent in treating snow or ice on the premises. These claims are usually covered by the homeowner's insurance policy.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident due to snow or ice accumulation on property in Ontario, call us for a Free Consultation to learn about your rights. We offer prospective clients a Free, no obligation, consultation. Contact us day or night toll free at 1-866-234-609 or complete our online contact form to get started now. We serve clients throughout Ontario.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada and Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death in Canada and the United States. Andrew is the author of "Are You a Canadian Injured in the United States? Claim the Damages and Insurance Coverage the Right Way".
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