The relationship between landlords and tenants is always a topic of discussion. When it comes to dividing the rental property responsibilities, there are bound to be a few points of disagreement. One of them is often the question of who is responsible for yard maintenance during the snow season.
Who will be shoveling snow and removing ice from the yard, driveways and sidewalks?
You would probably expect your landlord to be in charge of shoveling snow, but is this always the case? Though not all states provide snow removal laws for tenants and property owners to abide by, there are some requirements specific to each state with snowy winters. Obviously, in the states that have little or no snow, there are not clearly defined snow removal guidelines.
Utah gets a lot of snow every winter, so the snow removal laws are taken seriously in the state. According to the city regulation, in Salt Lake City the landlord or property manager is obligated to remove snow or ice from the sidewalks adjacent to the property within 24 hours after a snowstorm.
Alongside that, landlords and property managers are in also charge of clearing snow or ice if there is a danger for tenants or guests to slip and fall on the premises.
To avoid any confusion and prevent slipping injuries outside your rental property, try to do the following:
- Make sure snow removal requirements are reflected in the lease agreement.
If there are no local ordinances regarding snow removal, ask your landlord to add an additional clause to the lease agreement. Let the landlord specify any details regarding the time and procedures of snow and ice removal in cases of unusually heavy snow.
For a single-family home, the property owner should be in charge of clearing public walkways from snow and ice.
- Establish a plan with your landlord.
The best strategy is to be prepared for the snowstorm and establish a shoveling plan beforehand. If you’re renting a single-family home and the weather forecast shows snowfalls for the next day, cover your porch steps and your car with a sturdy cloth or tarp. You can then take the cloth off in the morning and save a lot of time.
If your landlord is living far from your rental, they are unlikely to effectively deal with snow on the property in the early hours. But as an alternative they can hire a professional winter management or snow removal service to do the work on a daily basis.
- Get some basic snow removal equipment.
A sturdy snow shovel is usually enough for clearing the snow from your porch and driveway. Experts recommend using plastic shovels with steel or aluminum tips. Also, salt and sand for icy surfaces are considered traditional methods to make the yard safe and prevent slips.
Snowy winters are magical. And you can enjoy them to the fullest if you don’t spend too much time on deciding who’s handling winter yard maintenance. With a detailed plan and a few lines about snow management in the rental agreement, both tenant and landlord can be satisfied with the solution.