by Mike Nordby on Jan 27, 2020
Do you dream of shoveling and snow blowing in a winter wonderland? No? You're probably not alone. It's a winter chore that needs to be done when the snow adds up, but who is responsible? Typically, if you own and live in your home, it's your responsibility to shovel the snow on your driveway and sidewalk. However, if you rent a home or multi-family dwelling, things can get a little foggy - who's responsible? If it wasn't discussed or isn't in the lease, what are you supposed to do?
If you have a lease that doesn't specify whether your landlord will take care of snow removal, the responsibility may fall on you. If you live in a snowy state, this is definitely something to negotiate in your lease before signing, especially if you don't love heaving the white stuff!
Another consideration is many local city ordinances require sidewalks, streets and curbs to be clean and passable. The landlord (or tenant, depending on what the lease says) is typically required to remove snow within a certain period of time or they could face a fine. If a person with disabilities is prevented access to a certain area from snow, or worse – gets injured on the sidewalks because someone didn't shovel– it poses an even greater and more serious problem.
Local officials often receive snow removal complaints from apartment buildings, and if the landlord and/or management doesn't clear sidewalks or parking lots, people with disabilities may be unable to get out of their apartment.
For these reasons, it's very important to discuss who is responsible for snow removal before signing a lease! This also applies to basic maintenance for the house like mowing the lawn or raking leaves. Also, if you're physically unable to shovel show, you should make sure the landlord documents their own responsibility for snow removal in the lease.
If you are responsible for getting rid of the snow that's piled up outside, consider the safety tips below to avoid accidents:
And, of course – don't forgot to bundle up before you go outside!