We survived our first snowfall of the 2017-18 winter, but the current cold snap – and predictable New England weather patterns – indicate that more snow is coming. If you are anxious about how to keep yourself and your tenants safe when the next storm hits, check out this step-by-step guide to what a landlord should do after a blizzard in Boston.
Because of a 2010 Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling, it is the landlord’s responsibility to remove snow and ice from their property. Before that ruling was passed, owners were not obligated to remove “natural accumulations” of wintry waste.
But that obligation does not mean you need to endanger yourself to clear the paths on your property. In the city of Boston, residential landlords have six hours to clear away snow and ice. Other cities and towns in the area may have their own deadlines, but you generally get at least a few hours after the storm has passed to safely clean up your property. So, wait until the snow has stopped falling and the main roads have been cleared.
Talk to your tenants.
Keep yourself informed. That means keeping an eye on weather reports, knowing if a state of emergency has been declared and the roads are closed, and keeping in touch with your tenants. If you have a superintendent or manager on the property, call them to find out how your building is holding up. Otherwise, call a tenant. They will be relieved to know that you have their safety in mind.
Document, document, document.
In the rush to clear away snow and ice, you might forget to document any damage to your property caused by the storm. If a pipe has burst, a tree has fallen, or the wind has damaged your roof, fence, or porch, do not forget to take pictures. You will need them later for insurance claims.
Clean up the snow and ice.
Once you have waited for the danger to pass, talked to your tenants, and documented any damage to your property, you of course need to clean up. But if you live at a distance from your property, or simply have other responsibilities, bring in the professionals, and look for a reputable Boston Snow Removal company.