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Landlords & Tenants: Who’s Responsible for Snow Removal?

Phoenixville Tenant Shoveling SnowIf you have a rental property somewhere with snowy winters, you may be doubting how to manage the responsibility of snow removal. Regulations about snow removal for Phoenixville rental property owners are amazingly varied and sometimes complex. As a result, you need to assign snow removal responsibilities accordingly well before the first flakes fall. But who should be doing it – you or your tenant?  That depends on a couple of reasons, which we will talk about in deeper levels below.

Local Ordinance

Primarily, to fully comprehend your snow removal responsibilities, look up your local ordinance. In most but not all localities, there are local laws on the books requiring property owners to remove snow from adjacent public sidewalks and driveways, usually within a certain period (usually 24 to 48 hours). But in certain locations, local ordinances go beyond simply requiring snow removal. They may also outline where the removed snow can and cannot be piled up.

Some cities may require property owners to remove snow from fire hydrants, benches, or common areas adjacent to their property. Others may limit where you can pile the snow (tossing snow in the road is against the law in many towns) or how high you can pile snow up beside a walkway. Some may even restrict what sorts of road salt or other deicing materials you can use on your walkways and driveways.

Notwithstanding what the local ordinances declare, it is recommended to take action to prevent getting hit with fines for improper snow removal.

Property Type

When allocating snow removal responsibilities, who gets assigned the responsibility also relies on what type of rental property you own. As an illustration, multi-family property owners are almost always responsible for snow removal. However, for single-family rental homes, most owners and landlords may delegate the job of snow removal to the tenant.

This arrangement may work in some cases, especially if your tenant already handles yard maintenance and other basic tasks. But, it’s necessary to keep in mind that the local ordinances still apply, so you should educate your tenant on proper snow removal practices to avoid running afoul of the law.

Tenant Ability

Another important thing to keep in mind is your tenant’s ability to perform snow removal tasks correctly and on time. If your tenant isn’t physically able to perform such duties or is considered a member of a protected class under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you may need to make other arrangements. While requiring a disabled tenant to do their snow removal is not technically illegal, a lack of consideration for your tenant could significantly damage tenant relations. In such cases, you may find the more ethical and profitable option to be hiring a professional Phoenixville property manager to do it for your tenant or simply doing it yourself if you prefer.

Lease Documents

Many single-family rental property owners request their tenants to undertake snow removal. And, if you want to do it as well, you must include clear language in your lease that outlines your tenant’s responsibilities connected to that task. Another best practice is to include any related information from local ordinances if your tenant needs to follow specific rules. The clear lease documents will not only help your tenant understand their responsibilities regarding snow removal, but they can also be an invaluable resource should a dispute happen.

On the other hand, if you want to provide snow removal, be sure to outline that in the lease as well. You should also add expectations related to that service, like moving vehicles or not parking on the street during snow removal service times.


One of the best things about hiring a property management company like Real Property Management Varanasi is that we will help you determine how best to handle snow removal at your rental property. Contact us online today to learn more about our full range of Phoenixville property management services.

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