The Snow Question: Who is Responsible for Shoveling — Landlords or Tenants?

The snow has started to fall and it looks like this winter will be a wet and heavy one. Snow removal can start to feel exhausting during a heavy winter. But who is actually responsible for snow removal?

Here are 3 ways to help you define who is responsible for snow removal:

Research Local Laws
Snow removal regulations can vary from one city to the next. Denver laws require residents to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks near their property within 24 hours. In contrast, Broomfield requires snow be removed as promptly as possible and no later than noon on the day following snowfall and makes no specification as to responsibilities of landlords vs. occupants. Generally, single family home tenants are responsible for snow removal whereas the property manager of a complex is the responsible party. Local laws are generally enforced by citizen complaints, so it’s important to know the laws and follow them accordingly to avoid tenants calling in to complain, creating fines. If you own multiple properties or live far away from your property, it is easiest to hire a snow removal company for your properties to keep you compliant with local laws. Before hiring a snow removal company, do your due diligence to ensure they are reliable.

Add a Clause to Your Lease
If you own a single family home it is very common to have a clause in the lease making snow removal the responsibility of the tenants. However, in a multiunit property, the best course of action is generally to do the snow removal yourself or hire a service. Don’t forget the parking lot! Be clear about who is responsible for snow removal to eliminate any confusion and fines due to violation of local laws. Outline these responsibilities in your lease so you and your tenants are protected.

Offer Incentives for Snow Removal
If you’re trying to cut back on expenses but are unable to do snow removal yourself, there is another option. Many tenants are willing to exchange snow removal (or yard work) for a small rent discount or even gift cards. Ask tenants at a multiunit property if they would be interested in the incentive. Be sure to have the tenant sign an amendment to their lease holding them responsible for the work and clearly state the incentive you are offering. As with professional snow removal services, stop by the property after a storm to ensure the job is being done. In a large multiunit complex it may be best to make arrangements with multiple tenants, clearly specifying the areas each is responsible for. Don’t forget to provide your tenant with a quality snow shovel and bags of ice melt!

The key to knowing who is responsible for snow removal is to clearly communicate responsibilities of each party. If you’re ready to stop managing properties and let someone else do the heavy (snow) lifting, contact us today!


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