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Are Landlords Responsible for Snow and Ice Removal?

Massachusetts sees its fair share of winter snow and ice. For landlords, that raises a question about property maintenance. Should your tenants be removing snow and ice from the homes in which they are living, or is it your job to ensure that it gets done? The laws regarding snow and ice removal on rental properties can be complicated, but your property management company can help you understand how the regulations apply to you.

How does Massachusetts state law regulate snow and ice removal?

The laws regarding snow and ice removal underwent a dramatic overhaul in 2010. The previous legislation allowed property owners to leave ice and snow on their properties without facing liability. Under the new law, property owners are responsible for removing any accumulations of snow and ice that could be dangerous. Many cities and towns have their own by-laws that put further onus on property owners to remove snow and ice.

How do these laws apply to rental properties?

Generally, the owner of the property is held responsible for keeping all areas used for entering and exiting a property free from obstructions, including snow and ice. Landlords cannot shift these responsibilities to tenants in leases, except in specific cases in which there is a single point of entering and exiting that is only accessed by the tenant. For example, landlords may be able to require that tenants keep their own doorways clear in some circumstances. Failing to follow the law leaves landlords vulnerable to liability lawsuits if someone is injured on their properties.

How can I manage snow and ice removal?

After a snow storm, you have limited time to clear your properties in order to comply with the law. By hiring a property management company, you can ensure that your snow and ice removal responsibilities are being met without having to drive from property to property to do the work yourself.

Don’t fight winter weather on your own. MRS Property Management will take charge of snow and ice removal on your behalf, so that you are protected from liability. Our property managers in Beverly, MA are ready to discuss all our services with you. Call us at (978) 572-2793 for more information.


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