Winter is fun if you like skiing and tobogganing and generally don’t mind the cold air feel on your face. Snow is great for these kinds of activities, but it’s different when the snow is on your sidewalks and driveways. Snow removal is a chore we can’t avoid in winter.

If you are renting or thinking of renting a property, you should know who is responsible for snow removal in rental properties when winter comes. Is your landlord responsible for snow removal or is it you? This is why GoodDoors Properties has put together this article and the below video to help both landlords and tenants understand who is responsible for snow removal:

Who is responsible for snow removal at a rental


For multifamily properties, property managers or landlords are usually responsible for snow removal unless it’s stated differently in the rental agreement. Your property manager will typically arrange ongoing snow removal services. Make sure that it’s stated in your lease/rental agreement along with how often it is done and how soon the snow removal contractor arrives after a snowfall.

It’s generally recommended for the snow to be cleared 24-48 hours after the snow falls. It’s good to have all the details about how often the snow is shoveled in the rental agreement. You don’t want to wait for a whole week before the snow is removed because it will get stuck to the sidewalk and form ice.

But realistically, sometimes it takes longer to get all areas cleared. Use common sense and if sidewalks aren’t cleared yet, take caution while walking on the ice. Ice should also be removed and salt applied if necessary during the snow removal services, however, to be 100% sure of your family’s safety, you might have some salt handy to apply on icy areas before the snow removal company takes care of it.

Why you should have property insurance

It’s recommended to have property insurance in case of a fall or any other unfortunate events that can happen at your rental property, like a tree falling. Your property manager might require you to get insurance before signing the lease agreement. Having insurance in place is really helpful and will also cover you in case of property damage that happened during your stay.

You and your landlord may also need to discuss the details of snow removal. For example, your landlord may ask you to move your car out of the driveway or parking lot at a certain time, so that the snow can be cleaned completely and properly. They should give you a notice in advance to inform you about that.

Snow removal for single-family homes

For single-family homes, the situation is different. Tenants are typically responsible for snow removal unless they have a special agreement with the landlord. So, if this is your situation, make sure you are prepared and have all the necessary equipment - shovels, snow blower (for bigger properties, snow blowers are a good investment and will save you a lot of time). Your landlord also might be able to provide some equipment, just check with them.

Get salt and sand for covering icy patches, because the last thing you want is you or your family falling on ice. The reason why you’d want to use a mix of salt and sand is because too much salt can speed up the deterioration of the concrete and it’s bad for the lawn.

Get help with snow removal


So, first things first, check and see if you have time to clean the snow when needed or if someone in your family is willing and able to do it. If you know that you are busy, and finding the time or energy to shovel sidewalks is a challenge, you can hire someone else to do it. If someone in your neighborhood offers snow shoveling in winter, that is an option to consider as long as you know you can rely on them to show up and do the work as agreed.

Determine how often you need snow removal services. Some people can do with weekly snow removal, while families with seniors or young children might want the snow cleared within 12-24 hours to ensure the safety of their family. Once you know how often, reach out to your local snow removal company and book the services.

Reach out to your local snow removal company and get snow cleaning services for the winter season. Some companies offer snow clearing within 12-24 hours of the end of a snowfall and unlimited visits based on how often the snow falls.

The bottom line

So in conclusion, the landlord is usually responsible for snow removal in multi-family rental properties. Make sure it is stated in the rental agreement to avoid any misunderstanding in the future.

Ask how often the snow cleaning services are performed to avoid delays and disappointment. In a single-family detached rental home, the tenant is usually responsible for snow clearing, so make sure you are able to do it or hire snow removal contractors to do the job.