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Landlords & Tenants: Who’s Responsible for Snow Removal?

Red Bank Tenant Shoveling SnowIf you have a rental property somewhere with snowy winters, you may be worried about how to handle the responsibility of snow removal. Regulations about snow removal for Red Bank rental property owners are surprisingly varied and at times complex. For that reason, it’s important to assign snow removal responsibilities accordingly in advance for the first flakes fall. But who should be doing it – you or your tenant?  That depends on a few things, which we will look at in greater detail below.

Local Ordinance

To begin, look up your local ordinance to fully comprehend your snow removal responsibilities. In numerous but not all cities, there are local laws on the books requiring property owners to remove snow from adjacent public sidewalks and driveways, usually within a certain period (usually 24 to 48 hours). Yet, in other places, local ordinances go beyond simply requiring snow removal. They may also outline where the removed snow can and cannot be piled up.

Some cities may require property owners to remove snow from fire hydrants, benches, or common areas adjacent to their property. Others may limit where you can pile the snow (tossing snow in the road is against the law in many towns) or how high you can pile snow up next to a walkway. Some may even control the kind of road salt or other deicing materials that may be used on walkways and driveways.

Irrespective of what the local ordinances suggest, it’s essential to take action to prevent getting hit with fines for improper snow removal.

Property Type

When distributing snow removal responsibilities, who gets assigned the task also depends on what type of rental property you own. For instance, multi-family property owners are almost always responsible for snow removal. However, for single-family rental homes, most owners and landlords may allocate the work of snow removal to the tenant.

This agreement can work in many cases, especially if your tenant already handles yard maintenance and other basic tasks. But you need to remember that the local ordinances still apply, so you must educate your tenant on proper snow removal practices to avoid running afoul of the law.

Tenant Ability

Another key element to note is your tenant’s ability to perform snow removal tasks properly and promptly. If your tenant isn’t physically able to execute such duties or is considered a member of a protected class under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you may need to create other arrangements. Though requiring a disabled tenant to do their snow removal is not technically illegal, a lack of consideration for your tenant could negatively influence tenant relations. In this scenario, you may find the more ethical and profitable option to be hiring a professional Red Bank property manager to do it for your tenant or simply doing it yourself if you want.

Lease Documents

Most single-family rental property owners appoint their tenants to perform snow removal. In addition, if you plan to do the same, make sure to include clear language in your lease that outlines your tenant’s responsibilities associated with that job. Another best practice is to add any related information from local ordinances if your tenant needs to follow particular rules. Not only can clear lease documents help your tenant understand their responsibilities regarding snow removal, but they can also be an invaluable resource should a dispute occur.

Alternatively, if you wish to provide snow removal, remember to outline that in the lease as well. You must also add expectations related to that service, like moving vehicles or not parking on the street during snow removal service times.


One of the best things about engaging with a property management company like Real Property Management Performance is that we will help you discover how best to handle snow removal at your rental property. Contact us online today to know more about our full range of Red Bank property management services.

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