Monday, September 22, 2014

Boston Property Managers Guide for Winter Preparation and Safety Tips

Safety Tips to Protect Your Tenants and Avoid Injury from Snow and Ice During The Winter Weather in Boston, MA

This guide will prepare a property owner and their building in Boston for harsh winter weather. Ensure tenant safety by taking the right steps to prepare your property for winter and avoid costly lawsuits due to negligence. 

The warm weather months in Boston are coming to an end and reality should suggest we are nigh on winter's arrival. This article will cover 3 tips for snow removal in the exterior of your building.

There are new rulings that property owners can be held liable in Boston for any snow-related accidents whether the snow was caused naturally or unnaturally.

Read our other article for tips and information to service your radiator as a Boston Property Manager.

As you prepare, start thinking about icicles, shoveling snow banks and the expectation of your tenants being inside their Boston rented homes more out of necessity to stay away from cold weather outside.

Sure, we still have the fall season that will have a few warm fronts move into forecast sporadically, but the quick removal of an unexpected ice dam will be crucial to a property owner's maintenance during the winter months.

3 Snow Removal Tips as a Property Manager in Boston

1. Hire A Reliable Snow Removal Service

  • These service crews can be expensive to employ, yet prove invaluable during expected winter storms and random snow days that make it a hard commute. Make sure the contract states they will work as long as it takes to clear the snow from your property grounds and stairs. Keep in mind, snow removal services generally do not shovel out tenant's parking spaces.
  • Use ice melt on your steps after snow storms.You don't want to have any liabilities like a slippery stair case on your hands.
  • If it's not in your tenant's lease to shovel the snow, then any occurrence of them slipping and falling anywhere on the premises from black ice or snow could send you into an expensive lawsuit if a tenant gets injured.

2. Shovel The Snow With Your Tenants to Save Money

This tenant clearly needs a helping hand for digging out their car.
  • If you live within the state where you own the property, then you likely will have your lease set up that you are responsible as the landlord for snow removal. 
  • Invest in snow and ice removal equipment like snow plows, shovels, salt or sand to make sidewalks walkable. Also, use an ice melt solution to remove dangerous black ice in your driveways.
  • Invest in shovels and hand each of your tenants one. If you have a limited supply of shovels, keep your tenants informed by sending them a mass email to notify them here the shovels are located in your building. 
  • They can help too because the snow removal service is only responsible for the snow on your property being cleared during their scheduled time. If snow continues past that time, then your tenants can take matters into their own hands to dig out their cars and front steps.
  • When they see that you have done your due diligence to ensure their safety on the exterior of your property, the do-it-yourself approach will help you build better relationships with your tenants aside from collecting their rent payments. 
  • This could save you cash on removal services doing all the work around the clock. A strong community is built off mutual trust and familiarity among residents.

3. Always Remove Icicles From the Exterior of the Building

Prevent injury on your property from icicles
  • Living in New England winters means that dangers not only lay below your feet, but more so frightening as they can come from above your head. It gets that frigid outside that your tenants can see deadly spikes from ice dams just waiting to drop once the sporadic warm fronts during the winter melts them. The most notable warm fronts usually comes just a few weeks into January mid-March near the start of Spring.
  • Also, be aware that icicles stuck to the building and high winds can cause a fire. Freezing temperatures can make it easier for a fire to rip through neighboring buildings or units within your property lines, making it harder for those blazes to be stopped by the fire department as the harsh winds can spread the fire from building to building, and unit to unit. 

Final Thoughts?

Winter is the the harshest time of year to be outside, but committed property owners can make it easier for tenants to live comfortably knowing they will have snow removal in the morning.

If you've had similar scenarios as a property manager in Boston and things to look after for the winter, please let us know to add to our snow removal tips for property managers in Boston.