Who has to shovel the snow — tenant or landlord?

Snow Shoveling in Rental Agreements

There can be confusion over who is responsible for snow removal on rental properties. Is it the landlord or property manager or the tenants themselves?

Rental Properties and Snow Shoveling

Much will depend upon the nature of the rental property. In condos and apartment buildings, it generally will be the responsibility of the landlord or building manager to clear walkways and parking areas of snow and ice. If they fail to do so and a tenant falls and gets injured, they face civil liability for the injuries and damages.

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Snow

However, the case is a bit murkier for single-family rentals. Most rental agreements will contain a clause dealing with snow removal responsibilities, which usually will be left to the tenant. Sometimes the owner will incentivize the agreement by offering a monthly discount on rent when the tenant honors their responsibility to remove ice and snow from the property.

Here in Rockville, the city has a formal policy regulating snow removal responsibilities.

It states:
"Sidewalks, driveways and entrances are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, occupant, community association or business for snow removal. Snow and ice must be cleared from all paved sidewalks abutting your property within 24-72 hours of the end of the snowfall, depending on the snowfall totals (up to three inches = 24 hours; three to nine inches = 48 hours; 10 inches or more = 72 hours)."While there is some ambiguity over who has the primary responsibility, should an injury occur to someone due to unshoveled walks or icy steps, it's likely that the property owner is going to be the one with the insurance coverage.

If you decide to file a claim for your injuries and damages, a personal injury attorney can advise you on Maryland's premises liability laws in your circumstances.

Source: Zillow, "Snow Removal on Your Rental Property: Landlord or Tenant Responsibility?," accessed Dec. 30, 2016