13 Nov Why Apartment Buildings Need Professional Snow Removal
The idea snow plowing and shoveling isn’t appealing for anyone, especially if you don’t like being outside in the cold. However, snow removal is a priority of many communities that enforce it, and apartment owners must comply.
Unless the lease specifies otherwise, snow removal typically falls on the landlords of multi-family apartment dwellings and complexes. They must know the requirements because it’s usually more than cutting out a narrow snow path in the middle of sidewalks.
Apartment snow removal companies assist landlords by helping them remain in compliance with local ordinances and safety standards. In this guide, we’re going to discuss the importance of using professional snow removal services.
Understanding Snow Removal Laws
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, curbs, sidewalks, and streets must be kept clean by public agencies. Many jurisdictions pass these same snow removal laws to property owners. You’ll find this is particularly true for sidewalks. According to the rules set by the ADA, property owners must leave enough room on sidewalks for wheelchairs to pass.
Property owners don’t have permission to deposit this snow on public property, which is the street or the curb. If they do, that will make it difficult for anyone to get into their vehicles or cross the street. Therefore, professional snow removal services follow these mandates set by some communities:
- The application of sand or gravel on ice to prevent slipping. These de-icing agents are typically available at no cost at various pick-up points throughout local communities.
- Snow removal occurring from fire hydrants, benches, and other public amenities throughout a sidewalk stretch spanning the property.
- They limit the snow pile height next to walkways. If that pile exceeds a particular height, they’ll go elsewhere to pile snow.
Make sure you understand the differences between state and local laws for snow removal. Your professional apartment snow removal service will help make sure you comply with both.
Avoid Fines for Non-Compliance
Many landlords, especially those new to renting properties, aren’t aware that there’s a timeline for snow removal. However, professional apartment snow removal services know how to stay within these guidelines.
For example, according to ordinance 445.20, Minneapolis snow removal must occur by property owners on sidewalks immediately after snowfall occurs. If you’re living in a single-family or duplex, you have twenty-four hours.
Helping the Elderly and Disabled
While snow removal is a tedious task, it also poses some risks, as well. A Harvard study indicates that approximately 100 individuals, primarily men, die as a result of having a heart attack during or just after snow shoveling every year in the United States. The research found that, when the snow was deep and fell the longest, these men experienced a heart attack.
That’s where professional apartment snow removal services are beneficial. Under many circumstances, subsidies are available to help pay for snow removal for these individuals. If not, the cost ultimately falls on the landlord. That way, they’re keeping them safe, and their health isn’t at risk.
Make Sure It’s Done Correctly
The last thing any landlord wants to learn about is one of their tenants experiencing an injury. Snow removal laws ensure that tenants remain safe from these kinds of injuries. However, if the landlord isn’t keeping up with snow removal, then this becomes an issue.
For example, if a snowstorm happens and the landlord doesn’t hire an apartment snow removal service. A tenant may grab a shovel on their way out to work and carve a path downstairs and out to their car quickly. Before the next tenant can get outside, ice forms, and they see the shovel stuck in a bank by the driveway. They try to get down the stairs, but fall.
That issue leads the tenant to incur medical bills, as well as time lost from work because the landlord neglected to ensure snow removal was occurring. That means pain and suffering for the tenant and litigation for the landlord to experience until they can resolve the matter.
Who Is Responsible For Snow Removal at a Rental Property
It isn’t uncommon for tenants to wonder if they’re responsible for snow removal. However, the majority of jurisdictions, responsibilities fall on the landlord. Landlords can help sort out the confusion by sending out snow removal letter to tenants. That way, they know:
- Who is responsible for snow removal at a rental property
- That a professional snow removal company is coming
- When snow removal will occur
- How often snow removal will occur
- That the landlord will incur all costs
- If they’re using de-icing materials and how often
When it snows a lot in some geographic areas, tenants like having this kind of peace of mind. Landlords can also put these stipulations in the lease. That way, there’s no confusion at the time of rental. These stipulations will also prevent injuries occurring during snowstorms.
Clear Up All Confusion Immediately
You must ensure you’re making it clear who is in charge of snow removal before snowstorms happen. In doing so, you’re preventing lawsuits and other disputes from occurring. There’s nothing worse than attempting to solve a conflict during or after a storm, especially if a tenant experiences an injury due to snow removal.
It’s in your best interest to know all local and state laws and outline them concisely in your rental or lease agreement. If you’re not using a property manager and renting the apartment yourself, then speak to your tenants. Before signing the rental agreement, outline your expectations. That way, you’re preventing problems from occurring.
Then, follow-through with the stipulations you outline in the agreement by hiring an apartment snow removal service. That way, you’re not experiencing costly slip and fall cases. Otherwise, you’ll pay a hefty price in court.
Turn it Over to the Professionals
When working with an apartment snow removal service, this is the most convenient way of ensuring the work occurs on-time and according to local and state ordinances. However, you must ensure you’re working with a company that is affordable and fair.
Here are some guidelines for ensuring you’re hiring someone you can trust:
- Check their credentials: can the company supply you with excellent references? If so, make sure you’re calling them and learning as much as you can about the work they completed for previous customers. Did they arrive on-time? How often did they perform these services? Could these customers depend on them during each storm?
- How much do they charge? Compare their prices to at least three other snow removal services in your area. How do they compare? What do they offer with their pricing that the others do not? What value do you see in their pricing? If it’s too low, try to determine if it’s because it’s due to lack of experience.
- How long have they been in business? Even if they’re new to the industry, that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t know what they’re doing. They may have the highest quality industrial equipment compared to a company that’s been in business for twenty years using low-grade material. Take those things into consideration.
Don’t be afraid to conduct interviews with many snow removal services until you feel comfortable with your selection. That way, you can develop a long-term relationship with this company.
Should Landlords Remove Snow?
One option is for you to remove the snow yourself. That’s a way of reducing costs and seeing that the work is complete with your own eyes. You’ll know the job occurs to your satisfaction following every storm. You must be willing to invest in the correct snow removal equipment and take the time out of your schedule to complete these tasks no matter what you’re doing.
That means making sure you have a high-quality snow blower for clearing sidewalks and walkways. You can also use it for cleaning up driveways, as well. If you’re working with parking lots, you may need to invest in a plow for a pick-up truck. You’ll also need plenty of shovels and de-icing material.
Make sure your schedule is flexible so, following a snowstorm, you can arrive and clean everything up before your tenants need to use any common areas. That way, you’re ensuring slip and fall injuries don’t occur. If you can’t invest in this equipment or if you don’t have a flexible schedule, your best recourse is to hire an apartment snow removal service.
Should Tenants Help?
In some jurisdictions, tenants are responsible for snow removal. However, when they’re not, that doesn’t mean they can’t help. However, they must not take over responsibility completely. If they want to clear off their stoop so they can get to their vehicle during a storm, that’s fine. However, it doesn’t replace the work of snow removal following a storm.
There are many things a landlord should take into consideration when it comes to apartment show removal. The first is how beneficial it is to hire a snow removal service. The main reason is that it helps reduce the worry of remaining in compliance with local and state ordinances. Next, using a professional service helps reduce the risk of slip and fall injuries.
While many apartment complexes may take matters into their own hands and attempt to conduct snow removal themselves, it’s not common. The potential liabilities associated with poor snow removal or deicing isn’t worth the risk. Hiring a professional commercial snow removal service is your best bet for ensuring the safety of residents and compliance with local laws.