Is the landlord or the tenant responsible for snow removal at a rental property? Can the landlord delegate this responsibility to the tenant?

Whether the landlord or the tenant will be responsible for snow removal may depend upon the language in the lease agreement and/or state statutes and local ordinances that address the issue. The location of the rental property, the type of property, and the number of units in a multi-unit property may also determine landlord or tenant responsibility.

In general unless otherwise specified in the lease or by statute/ordinance, a landlord is generally responsible for snow removal in multi-family properties where there are common walkways and parking areas. In many states a landlord with multi-family properties is held responsible to maintain all means of egress at all times in safe and operable condition, including conditions of snow and ice.

Landlords of single-family rental properties may be able to transfer responsibility of snow removal to the tenant through appropriate language in the lease agreement. The lease agreement must comply with the state and municipal laws on snow removal and clearly define details regarding the time frame and manner of snow removal, including how soon a sidewalk must be cleared of snow and ice, applicable de-icing procedures for salt or sand, and how the snow must be stored on private property, not dumped back onto public property.

Even when the landlord can transfer responsibility for snow removal to the tenant, there is still a potential liability for the landlord in the event of a slip and fall lawsuit being filed. The liability laws in the state where the rental property is located would determine how the matter should be handled.

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