It is winter, and many cities throughout the United States are covered in snow. Most local and state governments have regulations in place for snow removal, so the question for SFR rental property owners becomes, who is responsible for this removal: landlords or tenants?
Like many aspects of managing a property, the answer is not black and white. For starters, all the laws of snow removal vary by state, some dictating who is particularly responsible and others providing specifications of when and how the snow can be removed. In Alaska, for instance, the law specifically dictates that the landlord must remove snow and ice from common areas, unless otherwise stated in the lease. While in Pennsylvania, property owners and those who occupy properties (i.e. tenants) have the legal responsibility. Other states simply have no ordinances around snow removal. Luckily, Rentec Direct has a fantastic Guide to Snow Removal Laws by State.
We suggest familiarizing yourself with any laws and regulations around snow removal in your city and state. Additionally, use your leases as a tool to provide clarity around all snow removal responsibilities. Most states allow single-family residential rental properties to specify that the tenant is responsible for snow removal in their lease, so if that is your preference, make sure your lease includes it. Do not leave room for guesswork.
For additional insight on landlords and snow removal, see Rentec’s post Am I responsible for snow removal at my rental property? For additional, real estate investor resources, see our Resources Page.