As the owner of a multi-housing complex that caters to senior tenants, there are certain maintenance tasks that you are responsible for. One of those tasks may be snow removal. Snow removal laws can vary by location, with some areas requiring property owners to handle all snow removal on site, while other areas may only require removal in public areas like shared stairwells or parking lots. Yet, when it comes to a property with primarily older residents, you can make your complex more attractive by handling all snow removal tasks.
Who pays the bill?
The question of who pays directly for snow removal depends in part on local regulations, but generally the property owner is responsible for the cost of snow removal in public areas, at a minimum. Of course, this cost should be estimated and included in your overhead so that it can be included in your rent amount. In areas where private areas that only lead to a single unit, such as private porches, walkways, and stairs, are not required to be cleared by the property owner, you have a decision to make. Although you could require tenants to shovel these areas, with older residents it makes more sense to provide all shoveling (and price rent accordingly) or to provide the option of full snow clearing at a set annual fee.
Is in-house or contract service better?
Another decision is whether or not to assign snow removal to your in-house grounds maintenance team or to contract removal to a dedicated snow removal team. If you opt to go with your in-house team, you will need to provide all the necessary equipment. This can include shovels and snow blowers, plow trucks, and ice melt supplies. This can be cost prohibitive for smaller complexes, plus you must have room to store the equipment. It often makes more sense to contract the service out to a company that can provide both the skilled removal staff and all of the proper equipment.
When should snow be removed?
Snow needs to be removed promptly, both for your tenant's convenience and to minimize the chance of an accident. Many seniors can be trapped inside their homes if it isn't safe to walk out the front door. Most snow removal services will plow and snow blow at a set amount of snowfall, such as 1 or 2 inches. You can also require that they come out and de-ice if there is any chance of daytime ice formation.
Contact a snow removal service in your area for more help with the development of your snow removal program.