What happens if someone slips on a snowy or icy walk at your rental property, and then sues for injuries? It depends on who was found to be negligent. If terms in the lease agreement clearly state that the tenant is responsible for shoveling and salting during winter, then failure to do so would make the tenant negligent. But the landlord could have some liability, too.
That’s because landlords can’t assume that tenants are carrying out their responsibilities. In fact, if a tenant has routinely failed to shovel walks, then someone could argue that the landlord knew, or should have known, that walks were not safely maintained.
If your rental agreement states that removing snow and ice is your tenant’s responsibility, then you should routinely inspect the property after storms, to make sure that your tenant is clearing them. Inspections are a critical part of investment property management. They should be done on a periodic basis, such as monthly; and, they should occur when there is a potential for safety issues, such as after a snowstorm.
For more information on winterizing your rental, check out Did Your Tenant Let the Pipes Freeze?