Managing rental properties year-round is going to bring you in contact with the seasons, time and time again. In the summer, you might find yourself needing to fix the AC or call in a bee specialist to clear your property of dangerous insects. In spring, drainage can be a big issue as the rain rolls in.
Winter, however, is usually the time when your property (and your management) limits are put to the test. Weather in this season can be very intense, and that means that the rental properties you manage may need some extra attention.
In particular, there might be some confusion between you and your tenants about who is responsible for snow and ice removal. Depending on the property type and location, the party that needs to do the removal may differ.
To keep things as clear as possible between you and your tenants, it is key that you set up a snow and ice removal addendum to add to your lease. In this lease addendum, you can outline the specifics of who will do what so that there is no confusion down the line about the ice and snow.
As a landlord, you may have never dealt with this type of addendum before and you might be at a loss for how to begin it. Don’t worry! Our sample form can help you write your own, and we will walk you through the “hows” and “whys” of the addendum.
A Table Of Contents For Snow Removal Lease Addendums
- Why Do You Need A Snow Removal Addendum?
- Who Is Responsible For Snow Removal?
- All About Our Snow Removal Lease Addendum Form
Your lease should include information about snow and ice removal; if it does not, you need to add a snow removal addendum as soon as possible!
Without clear instructions about who is responsible for snow removal, it is possible that you would end up in a situation where both you and the tenant are not removing the snow, and then, you receive a fine for the snow still being there.
In another circumstance, an argument about who is responsible for the removal might lead to a breakdown in communication and the loss of an otherwise good tenant.
The best way to avoid all of these situations is to set up clear information about who is responsible for any snow and ice on the property. Clear up what the expectations about removal are. By outlining these details clearly before snow and ice are even in the picture, the likelihood of a disagreement decreases.
One question frequently asked by landlords and tenants alike is who is responsible for snow removal. The simple answer is that there is no simple answer! Depending on the lease agreement, the state, the municipality, and any number of other regulations, either party may be responsible.
The key thing that you need to be sure of is that you and your tenant are in agreement and on the same page about who will be doing the snow and ice removal. To get to that point, you as the landlord will need to do a bit of research into the laws and provisions that affect this decision.
As with many aspects of landlord-tenant law, state law often determines who is responsible for snow removal. There are laws about rental property snow removal in some states; others simply have laws about general snow removal and leave it up to the landlord to determine responsibility.
Ohio and Illinois have laws that state the tenant can be held responsible for snow removal within a specific time limit. These laws, however, are not the same in every state.
In Pennsylvania, for example, a property owner has a specific amount of time to get snow removed. This is common in many states, and the time period may vary. Often, the limit is 24 hours from when the snow stops falling.
The laws of your state may also require things like plowing and putting down salt, so it is essential for you to look into your state’s specific laws about snow before you set up your removal addendum. Once you find that law, you’ll be at the beginning stages of understanding of what is required of you or your tenants.
Local Provisions For Removal
In addition to state laws, there are often local municipality ordinances that further specify how and when snow must be removed. This is particularly common in states where the law doesn’t cover snow removal or when the state’s laws are too vague.
We mentioned above that Illinois allows landlords to require their tenants to remove snow, but city laws in Chicago state that the property owner or landlord is responsible for snow removal.
Type Of Property
The laws might also differ depending on the property type. Complexes and other multi-unit buildings, for example, often require that the landlord or property owner be held responsible for the removal.
If a tenant is renting a single-family home from you, however, the tenant may be the responsible party.
As you can see, it’s very important to look up the local and state laws about snow removal before you write your addendum. If you are having trouble finding information about the laws, give a call to your local municipal office and ask them directly. Most will be familiar with the policy and can quickly help you catch up with the latest rules.
Now that you know a bit more about why a snow and ice removal addendum is a great tool for keeping communication clear between you and your tenant, it’s time to learn how to write this addendum to the lease for snow removal responsibilities!
First, take a look at our sample document:
|Snow And Ice Removal Addendum|
As you can see, the form isn’t very long or complicated! When it comes down to the addendum itself, there isn’t much to say other than the facts of who is responsible for what during snowfall or icy conditions.
Once you’ve done your research about the local laws in your area, grab our template and modify it as needed to make it fit your needs. Make sure to fill each of the following sections with clear and accurate information.
Basic Identifying Information
All forms that we release here are RentPrep start with basic identifying information which clears up the following:
- Date of signing
- Property address
- Tenant name(s)
While every party involved knows this information already, including it on the addendum is key to keep it clear and legal.
The first section of our sample form shows how to write who is responsible for what. The form states that the tenant is responsible for the removal of snow and ice, and it also specifically lists the areas that must be cleared.
If you live in a state where you will be responsible for some things and the tenant is responsible for other things, this is where you would outline that information. Keep everything simple and clear so that there is no confusion.
After assigning responsibility in the previous section, it’s important to add on any additional information that the tenant needs to know or may have questions about. Include everything here that might come into question to prevent problems down the line.
In our sample document, we’ve covered the following topics:
- Calcium chloride is preferred over salt
- Tenant is responsible for injuries caused by them not removing snow or ice
- Tenant is responsible for fines resulting from them not removing snow or ice
- Landlord can hire someone to remove snow and ice at tenant’s expense if it is not handled in a timely manner
When creating your own addendum to a lease for snow removal, covering all of these topics and more is a great way to ensure that everyone understands what will be expected when the snow starts. If there are ever any questions, it will be very easy to reference the addendum that all parties have seen and signed previously.
The final part of the snow removal lease addendum is the sign of the agreement, the signature! All adult tenant(s) listed on the lease and you, the landlord, need to sign the document. If you have an on-site manager or property manager that will be involved with snow removal, it may be prudent to have them sign their agreement as well.
Snow Removal Is A Must
Safety should be a priority when snow and ice start to accumulate. For that reason, it’s important to have the responsibilities of snow removal worked out before the season starts. If your lease doesn’t include a snow removal section right now, it’s time to get to work on your very own addendum.
Snow and ice need to be removed to ensure the property is as safe as possible, and you play a role in ensuring that happens.
If it is the tenant’s responsibility to remove snow and ice and they are not doing so, you may need to send them a snow removal letter. This letter can act as a friendly reminder of assigned responsibilities and keep future conflict at bay.
Regardless of who is responsible for snow removal, setting up an addendum to ensure that all parties are in clear agreement is a great way to create a paper trail. Should an issue ever occur, having this type of documentation signed by all involved parties is very important!