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Old 02-09-2013, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Dorchester (Boston), MA
30 posts, read 35,315 times
Reputation: 36
Default Who is responsible for shoveling snow?

My landlord lives upstairs and I rent the downstairs of a two-family house. During the last big snow in October 2011, I was out of town and he shoveled. We haven't had enough snow since then for this to be an issue. It's now 3pm, the neighbors have all been out shoveling since this morning and most of the sidewalks along my street are clear except for in front of my house. The drifts in front of the house look to be 3-4 feet high and span the entire street frontage of the house. The snow from the sidewalk is almost level with my front porch! My landlord is home but not shoveling. Is he legally responsible for shoveling? I did some google searching and the information is conflicting. I am also 6 months pregnant and no way in hell am I going to dig a path through a 4 foot snow drift. I'm trying to figure out what his legal responsibility is before I go ask him to shovel. My lease says nothing about shoveling or general property maintenance. He does mow the grass and take care of the yard in the summer though. Thoughts?

Edited to add that I literally cannot leave the house unless the snow is shoveled. There's no way to walk through it.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal
12,236 posts, read 11,745,680 times
Reputation: 15750
I don't know the LAW, but he's your landlord, he owns the property, hence he's the shovel-dude. Even if he wasn't... you're 6 months pregnant! Even if you weren't pregnant... you're a woman. (I know, I'm an old-fashioned gal.) I'm pretty sure that, by law, he's responsible anyway.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:32 PM
 
Location: A Very Naughtytown In Northwestern Montanifornia U.S.A.
1,089 posts, read 705,372 times
Reputation: 1891
I think you should call him and ask him nicely to shovel a path for you.
If I was your neighbor I would do it for you but I'm a long ways away. Good luck. ~♥~
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Dorchester (Boston), MA
30 posts, read 35,315 times
Reputation: 36
Thanks for the replies. Just wanted to add that I'm looking to establish legal responsibility on my landlord's part, not chivalry. Clearly, he hasn't budged to shovel yet so I don't think the chivalry/being nice thing works for him anyway.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:59 PM
 
355 posts, read 366,489 times
Reputation: 439
Here are the Boston rules (assuming that's where you are -- not all towns have a shoveling rule):

Snow Removal & Fines | City of Boston

So, in your landlord's case, he could be looking at a $50 fine per day. Of course, someone would have to be willing to come out today and ticket him!

From what I've read, although your landlord might bear some legal responsibility if someone gets hurt, the city of Boston is ultimately liable for city sidewalks (with a $5k limit on claims).
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
1,432 posts, read 1,669,554 times
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Tenant Rights and Responsibilities


"Snow Removal: Every exit used or intended for use by occupants of more than one dwelling unit or rooming unit shall be maintained free from obstruction."
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:29 PM
 
173 posts, read 294,142 times
Reputation: 147
Your landlord ought to feel obligated for several reasons; because you are with child, because you are a woman(assuming he is an able bodied male.), and because he is the damn landlord. If I were you, I would call him and say, "when will the snow be cleared from the entrances?" You must say this with confident expectation in your voice.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Boston Suburb
1,319 posts, read 1,810,376 times
Reputation: 794
I'm 99% sure it's your LL who should shovel the sidewalks and any common shared walkways. If you have a door and pathway that only you use, then it could be either one of you to shovel those areas. So it's whatever that's agreed upon initially.

I agree with Greenciti.... If you need to get out and your LL hasn't shovel the walkway, then call and ask when he plans on doing it. Speak with a matter of fact way in your voice as if you KNOW he needs to do it.
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Dorchester (Boston), MA
30 posts, read 35,315 times
Reputation: 36
Believe me, I have no problem speaking up or making demands. I left a message for him several hours ago once I figured out that he is indeed legally responsible. He hasn't responded. This is beyond frustrating. It's a single door, porch, and pathway that we both use, plus the public sidewalk out front that I believe he is responsible for as well. I may just have to hire someone to do it in the morning then charge it to him. Argh!
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
1,432 posts, read 1,669,554 times
Reputation: 1168
Quote:
Originally Posted by new2mass View Post
Believe me, I have no problem speaking up or making demands. I left a message for him several hours ago once I figured out that he is indeed legally responsible. He hasn't responded. This is beyond frustrating. It's a single door, porch, and pathway that we both use, plus the public sidewalk out front that I believe he is responsible for as well. I may just have to hire someone to do it in the morning then charge it to him. Argh!
It's very odd that your landlord isn't even shoveling himself out. Have you had any contact with him? its possible there could be something wrong with him. All signs point to it being his obligation, but if he were incapacitated for some reason, I doubt there is anyone he could hire for today that would be able to do the job.
I did hear the weatherman on TV suggesting everyone wait until tomorrow to shovel, so he may just be following their advice. In any case he ahould be communicating this information to you.
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