Cold snowy winters add extra work and expense for homeowner associations. Because it’s rare to have a lot of snow in Knoxville, Tennessee, many HOAs in our area have little budget for snow removal. In addition, we find that some CC&Rs aren’t clear about association vs. residential snow removal responsibilities. As no two snowflakes are exactly alike, no two HOA CC&Rs are exactly alike.
Check for snow removal guidelines in your CC&Rs. Where does responsibility for the association start? Where does residential responsibility begin? Homeowners are often confused about who maintains the streets, sidewalks and walkways in the community. Snow removal varies among associations, so it’s important for your Board to review and clarify responsibilities at the onset of the snow season.
Communicate responsibilities to owners. If your rules state that the association is responsible for snow removal on streets, act quickly. Likewise, you should remove snow from sidewalks and common areas if your bylaws state that you are responsible. Homeowners may be responsible for some snow removal:
- Associations often assign snow removal responsibility for private driveways to homeowners
- Residents are sometimes asked to clear snow from sidewalks adjacent to private property
- Some association bylaws state that snow removal from private mailbox areas is residential responsibility.
- Associations are usually responsible for parking lots, but individual owners may be responsible for clearing snow from assigned parking spaces where cars are present.
Residents can expedite the snow-removal process by staying at home during severe weather. When possible, residents should remove and/or relocate their cars from parking spaces to facilitate snow-removal from association roads. All owners can’t stay home or move their cars, so your Board needs a plan to work with these issues.
As winter approaches, think about your community residents. Are expectations clear? Do owners know where the association responsibilities stop and residential responsibilities start? Is your phone going to ring off the hook, or do your homeowners know the city and state responsibilities. If the answer to any of these questions is no, there’s work to be done in your association before snow removal season.
Wise Property Solutions is East Tennessee’s only Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC®). As the region’s leader in community association management, the firm is committed to the industry’s best practices and continuing professional development. Wise Property Solutions’ certified and highly trained property managers empower well-organized and efficient communities. The firm maintains offices in both Knoxville and the Tri-Cities.
Tri-Cities, TN-VA: 423-926-7373