In New York, the responsibility for snow removal from walkways associated with rental properties often hinges on the specific terms of both a tenant’s lease agreement and local ordinances. This responsibility can be a point of confusion – and possible contention – for both landlords and tenants, leading to potential safety hazards and legal disputes.
Ultimately, it’s important to clarify who bears the burden of snow removal to maintain safe premises, comply with local laws and avoid preventable disputes between landlords and tenants.
What does the lease say?
A lease agreement is the first place to check who is responsible for snow removal. In many cases, landlords include a clause specifying who must clear snow and ice from walkways, driveways and other common areas. If a lease explicitly states that the landlord is responsible for snow removal, they must comply with this obligation. Conversely, if the lease delegates this responsibility to the tenant, then it’s the tenant’s duty to ensure timely snow and ice removal.
What do local laws say?
Local laws and ordinances in New York can also dictate snow removal responsibilities. For instance, in New York City, property owners are generally responsible for clearing snow and ice on sidewalks adjacent to their properties within certain time frames after a snowfall unless the terms of a lease explicitly dictate otherwise. Failure to do so can result in fines. Both landlords and tenants need to be aware of these local regulations as they can override stipulations in the lease agreement, should they so choose.
Why does it matter?
Liability for injuries resulting from improper snow and ice removal is a significant concern. If someone is injured due to uncleared snow or ice, the responsible party could be held liable for damages. This underscores the importance of clearly defining and adhering to snow removal responsibilities.