Snow and Ice Removal Tips for Commercial Property Owners
Winter is here and in Michigan, that means it’s time to make sure you’re ready and able to deal with the snow and ice winter brings. While homeowners have their shovels and snow blowers ready to go, it’s important for commercial property owners also have a plan to clear the snow and ice from their properties. As the owner of a property which people need to enter either to work or to conduct their day-to-day lives, it’s crucial that you ensure that they’re able to do so safely.
Snow and ice removal ordinances can be very different from city to city, so it’s a good idea to find out which responsibilities you have in the city (or cities) where you own commercial properties. Some cities might have snow ordinances which specifically apply to commercial properties while other cities might not have an ordinance at all. But even if there isn’t an ordinance requiring you to remove snow and ice from your property, it’s still important that you do so to make sure that your tenants and their visitors stay safe. Nobody should have to contact a slip and fall lawyer just for trying to go about their lives.
It’s also a good idea to review the lease agreements you have with tenants to make sure there is no confusion over who is responsible for snow removal. Some property owners have leases specifying that tenants are responsible for clearing the property of snow. If that’s the case, you might want to send a friendly reminder to your tenants about this fact.
If you are, indeed, responsible for clearing the snow and ice on a property you own, the most efficient way to stay on top of it would be to hire a contractor to do it for you. If you own a large property, it might be too much for you to handle yourself.
Before you officially hire a snow removal contractor, make sure to find out how quickly they’ll be able to come out after a storm. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure the snow will be cleared before business hours. You’ll also want to make sure they have proper insurance and that they keep records of the work being done on your property. Lastly, make sure your contract is very clear about which services are included. For example, some contractors might give you a quote that includes clearing snow, but don’t include any ice control or prevention measures. Don’t forget to make sure your contract very clearly includes all the areas which need to be taken care of.
Another thing you can do is make sure you have enough exterior lighting. Ice can be extremely difficult to see, particularly when it’s dark out. Since there’s so much less daylight during the winter months, exterior lighting becomes extremely important. Check the lighting in your parking lot, along your walkways, and at entrances. If you have any outdoor stairs or ramps, pay particularly close attention to the lighting in those areas since they can become particularly treacherous when icy.
By taking these steps, you’ll be going a long way in making sure your property is safe all winter long.