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Snow Removal: Who is Responsible?

Defining the Landlord/Tenant Snow Removal Question

It may not snow a ton in North Carolina, but there are times when the weather forecast calls for the fluffy white stuff. As a property owner, snow can complicate things and be a safety concern, so it’s essential to ensure everyone knows who is responsible for removing snow from sidewalks, pathways and driveways. 

Single-Family Rentals

In places like Raleigh, where snow only becomes a problem once or twice a year, removal can fall into the “gray” area of property maintenance. Typically, if you rent a single-family home, the tenant is responsible for cleaning the driveway and sidewalks. However, the landlord is responsible for making sure that the tenant does so in a timely manner. Depending on your HOA regulations (if you have one), the association is often responsible for common areas, while the homeowner must address their own driveways and sidewalks.  

Multi-Family Rentals

Much of the responsibility with a multi-family rental falls on the landlord. According to the North Carolina Landlord and Tenant Duties, a landlord must keep all common areas of the premises in a safe condition. Snow removal in multi-family properties such as townhomes, apartments and condominium buildings is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that property walkways and parking spaces are free of snow and ice. 

Lease Agreement

One way to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding snow removal is to clearly define the procedures in the lease agreement. Proper wording in the lease agreement can help eliminate any confusion on who is responsible for snow removal. While no one is expecting the Snowmageddon of 2014, it helps when everyone is aware of their role if problematic weather conditions were to arise. 

Helpful Hints

At Oak City Properties, we know that keeping your tenants safe comes down to thinking ahead. Before the snow comes, take some time to think about what your tenants may need. 

  • Make sure a snow shovel is on the property
  • Have bags of Rock Salt at each property 
  • Provide each tenant with a “Storm Preparation Tip Sheet”
    • Give tips on how to prepare for winter weather and what to do without power
    • Provide tenants with emergency numbers such as the power company and how to contact you if a problem were to arise

Another helpful hint is to line up a reputable vendor when it comes to snow removal. Partner with a snow removal company or individual who will provide services such as 

  • Salt Spreading and Ice Removal
  • Snow Plowing
  • 24/7 Service (pre-storm planning, in-storm services, and post-storm clean-up)

Consider Getting Help

Maintenance for landlords is inevitable, but thinking ahead and winterizing your rental unit could prevent issues from occurring down the road. Hiring a qualified property management team is one of the best ways to protect your property and streamline daily operations regarding winter maintenance. At Oak City Properties, we provide custom solutions and competitive quotes that tailor our services to what you really need. Our full property management service will work with you each step of the way when renting and maintaining your property. We believe hiring a property management company should be a transparent process built on trust and doing our absolute best to take care of your investment. 

Want to learn more about our commitment to effective real estate investing and property management? Contact us or give us a call at (919) 232-9222. Feel free to also check out our website at oakcityproperties.com or check out our Facebook Page

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