Who Is Responsible for Snow Removal at a Rental Property?

There is a question that renters in cold climates always ask: Who’s responsible for snow removal?

We’ve taken the time to explain everything you need to know from our years of experience as a Brooklyn property management company below. So if you want to know who’s responsible for snow removal at a rental property, read on!

Check the Lease

Who bears responsibility for snow removal should be expressly stated in the lease. The lease should also specify circumstances when responsibility is shared.

In short, the more detailed the lease is on this subject, the better.

Unfortunately, many leases aren’t so clear on this subject, and a lack of clarity often leads to disputes.

So if you’re a landlord or property manager, you need to make sure the leases your tenants are signing are straightforward regarding snow removal. Otherwise, you could be dealing with many issues down the road.

Do Local Laws Stipulate Who’s Responsible?

According to New York City’s official website, property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice from their sidewalks. This applies to residential and commercial property owners.

But just because a tenant doesn’t OWN the building doesn’t mean they’re automatically exempt from removing snow. Again, if a lease specifies an obligation and the tenant accepts by signing, they must remove the snow.

What Can Happen if a Landlord Fails to Remove Snow

Fines

If a property owner fails to remove snow in a timely manner, they may be fined.

If snow falls between 7 AM & 5 PM, it should be removed within four hours, provided snow is no longer falling. If snow falls between 5 PM and 9 PM, you have 14 hours to clear it. Snow that fell between 9 PM and 7 AM should be removed by 11 AM.

Even if the tenants are responsible for snow removal, the property owner is the one who gets fined. So in this instance, they’d have grounds to seek reimbursement from their tenants.

Here’s how the fine structure breaks down in NYC:

  • $100—$150 for a first offense
  • $150—$350 for a second offense
  • $250—$350 for third and subsequent offenses

Slip & Fall Injuries

If snow and ice aren’t removed on time, tenants will be more prone to slipping and falling. And if one of your tenants slips, falls, and sustains injuries, you may be liable for damages, especially if snow and ice removal was your responsibility.

Even if it’s the tenant’s responsibility, you may be liable for damages. Therefore, if you don’t want to be tied up in litigation, make sure your property is free of snow and ice, whether it’s your responsibility or not.

Head Injuries

When it comes to roof snow and ice removal, the landlord is almost always responsible. And if you fail to remove snow and ice from your roof promptly, your tenants could be injured by falling snow and ice. This would almost certainly land you in court, and you’d most likely have to pay.

Tenants Take Matters Into Their Own Hands

If the landlord doesn’t remove snow and ice when they should do so, the tenants may take matters into their own hands. And if they’re injured – as a result, they’ll probably seek damages from the landlord since it wasn’t their responsibility in the first place.

Choose Sunrise Real Estate for Expert Brooklyn Property Management

Are you looking for best-in-class property management services in Brooklyn? Then, you can’t go wrong with Sunrise Real Estate. We’ll set you up with a first-rate property manager who will take a significant weight off your shoulders AND bring in more money!

Call us now at (718) 355-9117 or visit us online to learn more about the services we’re currently offering.

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