Rental Property 101: Who’s Responsible for Snow Removal?

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When winter arrives, it can come aggressively and unexpectedly. Winter weather is unpredictable and snowfall is often heavy. If you are renting a place you may feel relieved you don’t have to deal with shovelling snow or salting walkways to maintain your property. But are you sure your property management company is responsible for snow removal?
 
During the winter months, there is often confusion between property management and tenants regarding snow removal responsibility. It is important to make sure you understand condo law and your lease agreement to avoid any surprises when sudden snowstorm hits. Learn how to find out who's responsible for removing snow on the property before there are three feet of snow on your doorstep.

Check Your Lease

In terms of condo laws, most landlords and property managers or apartment buildings and condominiums will hire professional snow removal services to clear parking lots and walkways. However, if you live in a house or shared home your responsibilities may differ. 

If you’re trying to determine whether or not you’re responsible for snow removal, start with your lease agreement. Guidelines for snow removal responsibilities should be documented in the terms and conditions of your lease. If a verbal contract was exchanged between you and your landlord, it's due diligence to put the agreement in writing before you sign your lease so there is no confusion when it comes time to shovel snow. If a verbal agreement happens after you’ve signed, ask for the new terms be to be added to the contract.

City Bylaws and Provincial Law

If your lease does not mention snow removal responsibilities and your landlord did not agree to negotiations, consult city and provincial laws. Even if your lease does state snow removal responsibilities, it is always best to understand the laws surrounding this issue so you can ensure that your landlord is acting within the law. If your landlord is responsible for snow removal and is not fulfilling their obligation, then you can potentially make a formal complaint. However, talk to your landlord first. Property management companies often use generic lease outlines and therefore may not be aware of relevant laws or statutes within each province or city.
 
When it comes to property management, condo law, and tenant responsibilities many misunderstandings can be avoided by being proactive and ensuring everyone is on the same page from the start. Winter weather can be unpredictable, but it's better to be prepared before you start removing snow on your property. Property management is about ensuring safety and comfort of your tenants. Having a fair and reasonable conversation ensures everyone can move forward in agreement.