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BLOG NUMBER 24.65

What You Need to Know

Public entities must maintain streets, curbs, and sidewalks in a clean condition in accordance with the standards outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act since they are regarded as public thoroughfares. Many local governments delegate property owners’ snow removal duties, particularly where there are public sidewalks. The ADA mandates that property owners remove at least 36 inches of snow from sidewalks in order to accommodate wheelchairs. Since doing so would make it impossible for people to cross the street or drive their cars, the snow must not be dumped back onto public property like the curb or the street. It’s crucial to research to find out what is required of residents in your area, as local rules for snow removal differ. Following are some typical requirements for snow removal:

  • the clearing of snow from the sidewalk that spans the property, including the fire hydrants, benches, and other public features
  • a height restriction for snowdrifts near walkways. Snow must be placed somewhere else when the snowbank is too high
  • use sand, gravel, or road salt (or environmentally friendly salt substitutes such as calcium chloride) to prevent slippage

What if You Don’t Own the Property?

Although it can be challenging, many towns require residents to shovel and blow snow. But what if you don’t own the property? Who is responsible for removing snow after a winter storm? The answer may not be as cut and dry as you’d think. The key to getting it right is to communicate clearly with your landlord and ask that the agreement be put into the lease. 

Tenants in single-family rentals may be liable for snow removal unless the agreement specifies otherwise. In multi-family homes, removal is typically handled by landlords or property managers.

Snow removal on driveways and sidewalks is normally covered by the landlord. It may become the able-bodied tenant’s job in a single-family home, but if the residents are unable to do so (for example, if they are ill or out of town), the landlord may once more be held accountable.

Include a section in your lease addressing snow removal to ensure the snow is removed and avoid misunderstandings between landlords and tenants. You can specify who is accountable in the snow removal clause. If the condition indicates that renters are responsible, they can either do it themselves or, if they are unable to do it themselves, contact a snow removal company. If the lease states that the landlord is responsible for snow removal, landlords can hire a renter to remove snow similarly to other yard work. Landlords frequently employ a snow removal service near me, particularly if they have a building with multiple units. Of course, if you want to save some money, you can always do it yourself and clear the snow, but beware—clearing snow may be strenuous!

Being Prepared Ahead of a Storm is Key
In conclusion, take some time to research local laws and ordinances regarding snow removal. Once you are knowledgeable, reach out to your landlord or property owner to come to a clear agreement on who will take care of each area outside of your home, including private sidewalks and driveways, as well as public sidewalks that line the property. Include a condition in your lease that specifies who is responsible for clearing snow or ice to ensure the safety of pedestrians and other tenants, as well as you and your family. If needed, reach out to a reliable snow removal company to get a quote.

DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this Website and blog is intended for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the direct opinions, views or practices of Swenson Consulting or its consultants. The individuals who maintain this blog work for Swenson Consulting. The information, comments and links posted on this blog do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been or will be formed by any communication(s) to, from or with the blog and/or the blogger. All decisions relating to the content of the website blog belong to the blogger and management company responsible for the blog for the purpose of aggregating relative industry specific information related to snow removal.

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