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Fine structure for snow removal 'unreasonable': Landlords Association

The Saskatchewan Landlords Association (SKLA) is calling the City of Regina’s fine structure for its snow removal bylaw “unreasonable” in certain situations.

Since coming into effect at the beginning of 2022, property owners in Regina may be assessed a fine for not clearing a sidewalk of snow within 48 hours of a storm.

Since the first snowfall of 2022 in November, the city said 188 cases were investigated by bylaw enforcement officers with 186 notices of non-compliance issued. The city noted no property was issued a ticket as of Dec. 5, 2022.

Of the 186 notices, 127 cases were voluntarily complied with, while 23 had sidewalks cleared by the city with the costs applied to the property tax account. On the City of Regina’s website, it said the estimated cost to clear snow is $300.

The SKLA believes in the case of rental properties and municipal violations incurrent by the tenant, fines and costs should be assessed to the tenant.

“It’s unreasonable for owners to run around the city and police sidewalk snow removal,” said CEO Cameron Choquette. “In the same way criminal charges are laid against people who commit the crimes, not on the property owners who have no obligation to babysit their properties.”

In a statement to CTV News, the City of Regina said bylaw enforcement’s first step is to engage the resident in-person.

“Regardless of whether the property is tenant or owner-occupied, [we try] to contact the individual residing in the home. If we are unable to do so, a notice is left at the property informing them of the violation and a compliance date.”

It is not known how many of the 23 cases were situations where a tenant did not clear snow.

Choquette said one-third of residents in Regina are renters. In semi-detached or single homes, many tenants enter into agreements with their landlords which clearly state who is responsible for snow removal.

“The Cities Act allows [us] to apply costs to remedying the violations to the property tax account,” the city replied. “This ultimately falls to the legal property owner, regardless of any agreement they have in place.”

“If the tenant is responsible for snow removal and fails to comply with the bylaw, we’ve given the direction that those fines can be assessed back to the tenant as ‘liquidated damages,’” said Choquette.

Liquidated Damages can include a breach of tenancy agreement, late rent payment or failure to comply with municipal bylaws.

“It’s standard for us to want our sidewalks clear for our neighbours, friends and families,” said Choquette. “The city won’t amend the bylaw to place the ticket on tenants so our industry needs to respond in a way that is in accordance with agreements.” Top Stories

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