The car port of Gina Gregg’s Malakwa rental home was destroyed by heavy snow on its roof on Jan. 23, 2020. (Contributed)

Shuswap carport collapse from snow prompts question of landlord/tenant responsibility

Cracks in ceilings, doors that become difficult to open can be warning signs

Heavy snow loads as experienced in the first few days of 2020 have the possibility to damage buildings. But who is responsible when the property in question is a rental?

That is the question at the centre of a dispute between Gina Gregg, of Malakwa, and her landlord after the carport of the house she is renting collapsed.

Gregg says on the morning of Jan. 23, 2020, the carport collapsed under a heavy load of snow that had buillt up on top.

Having noticed the heavy snow, Gregg said she and her roommates moved all of their property out from under the carport before the collapse.

Gregg’s tenancy agreement states tenants are responsible for clearing snow and keeping walkways clear of ice and snow where it is required. Whether snow clearing applied to the roof, Gregg said, was a point of contention.

Read More: Man pleads guilty to fishing illegally for salmon near Sicamous

Read More: Video: Sleight of hand and magical mischief at Sicamous school

Gregg sees similarities between her collapsed carport and a case ruled on by the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). In the 2018 decision, the RTB arbitrator found removing snow loads that could impact the integrity of the structure to be the responsibility of the landlord.

Read More: PHOTOS: Truck outside Victoria gets partially stuck in sinkhole

Read More: Highway 1 to close near Revelstoke for avalanche control

Pacific Quorum, the property management company that oversees the property Gregg rents, said the owner’s insurance is covering the damage to the carport. Mark Ellery, the vice-president of Pacific Quorum, said warnings about the snow load had been issued following Pacific Quorum employees visits to the site.

The recent heavy snowfall in the Shuswap put plenty of strain on structures where it can accumulate on the roof. Marty Herbert, Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) building and bylaw services team leader, said he knows the damage snow accumulation can do, having seen snow-laden carports flatten cars parked inside and entire buildings collapse under the weight.

While removing snow can be helpful, Herbert said shovelling the roof can be dangerous. He added that preventative maintenance, particularly on older homes, is important to protecting them from snow. He said water ingress due to old flashing or other leaks in the roof can cause deterioration in structural wood, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

According to Herbert, structures generally don’t collapse suddenly and cracks in ceilings and beams, or doors that suddenly become difficult to open can warn of a cave-in to come.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Severe weatherSnow

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A view of Gina Gregg’s carport before heavy snow on its roof brought it down on Jan. 23. (Photo Contributed)

Just Posted

Rockets’ Nolan Foote traded to New Jersey Devils

The Devils acquired Foote and a 2020 first-round pick from the Lightning in exchange for Blake Coleman

Smalltown DJs to bring sounds of Shambhala and Bass Coast to Sapphire Nightclub

The Electronic Dance Music duo is known for their bass-heavy beats

The Coldest Night of Year walk returns to Kelowna Feb. 22

The event raises money for charities serving hungry, homeless and hurting people in the community

Rockets lose 3-2 to Rebels in close game

The Rockets are back in action on Monday when they host the Calgary Hitmen at Prospera Place

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read