In some areas of the country, landlords and tenants must deal with the issue of snow removal. Who is responsible for snow removal can vary from state to state. If the landlord is required by state law to remove snow, the law will sometimes also specify how much time the landlord has to remove it. However, snow removal is not always defined by state law. Snow removal is not always limited to just plowing or shoveling. It can also include putting down salt or sand in some states.
If snow removal is not mentioned in your lease agreement, you can discuss it with your landlord prior to moving in, and request that an addendum be done for your lease to specify who is responsible for snow removal, when and where to expect the removal of snow, and whether any salt, sand or ice removal chemical will be applied to any of these locations.
If you live in a state that requires landlord snow removal, it is generally specified that the landlord must remove snow from the common areas within 24 hours of the snow stopping. As a tenant, it is not a right to expect a landlord to always dig out your automobile so that you can get to work on time. It often takes time to schedule a snow plow during a bad storm. The landlord is not usually legally obligated to perform snow removal while it is still snowing.
Some state laws specify that, although the landlord is not responsible for clearing and removing snow, the occupant or tenant in the property is required to clear the snow. As a tenant in the property, it may be your responsibility to remove snow in a timely basis from any common area including sidewalks and exterior hallways and to remove the snow at your own expense. This can be a potential liability issue for the tenant. If it is the tenant's responsibility to clear the snow and someone is injured on that area, the tenant can be sued. Most sources always advise both landlords and tenants to become familiar with the provisions of your state law and the provisions in your lease agreement.
There are Exceptions
Although a rental agreement includes a statement by the landlord that the tenant is responsible for snow removal, liability laws in the state in which the property is located will determine who is ultimately responsible if a lawsuit occurs.
The ultimate goal of both the landlord and the tenant is to avoid damage to cars on the property, or injuries to persons visiting the property. LandlordStation.com recommends in our tenant resource center that both the landlord and the tenant become familiar with the laws of the state in which the property is located. A discussion about any maintenance issues prior to the tenant taking possession of the property is advisable. Putting the discussion in writing in a letter or a lease addendum can potentially avoid issues of responsibility later.
© Copyright 2015 LandlordStation LLC