We have had some major snow storms this year and after having several clients to call and ask about the City of Boston’s snow removal regulations and for assistance finding a contractor, I figured I’d take a second and remind you all of what the law requires and a few ideas to minimize cost.
The city of Boston requires that (for all commercial and residential property) the owner must have snow and ice removed from the steps and all sidewalks adjacent to the property within 3 hours of the snowfall ending, or if it snows overnight, withing 3 hours from sunrise. The city requires that owners do not throw snow and ice into the street and that the minimum pathway shoveled is to be 42 inches. If you fail to arrange for snow removal, not only are you potentially liable for slip and fall accidents, you are also able to be fined by the city for each day the snow and ice is not removed. The fines range from $50 to $200 per day.
So what can you do to ensure that you do not receive fines or have a liability on potential slip and falls?
There are really two strategies. Most building owners hire a snow removal service to monitor and take care of their property. Typically a snow removal service will run you about $45 per storm, with additional charges for heavy snow storms. While this is the normal approach, let me purpose another strategy that will decrease your cost and increase your NOI; pass the responsibility on to your tenant. How do you do this? Simple, add a clause in one of your tenants leases (typically the first floor), that requires them to remove the snow from the front steps and sidewalk in a timely manor and that they inherit any liability should they fail to meet their duty. Then provide them with a shovel and salt and your good to go. You now have eliminated a bill and offset liability for snow related falls by just adding a clause in your lease and buying a shovel and salt!
For more info on snow removal please visit this helpful link!