Standard Snow Removal on Multi-units

6 Replies

I'm somewhat new to Ohio and I'm looking to buy some duplexes (triplexes and quads). I'm wondering what the standard is for snow removal? With a smaller multi-unit, do tenants expect to remove snow themselves or do they expect it to be done by the owner? I know I'm a larger apartment complex they expect the owner to deal with it.

@Aaron Peterson   Welcome to Bigger Pockets!

This question may have been answered in previous forum threads, so use the search tool to find threads that may answer your question.

Also, your question is better suited for the Landlord Forum or Multi-Family Investor Forum. Renters discussion is for renters, not landlords.

@Aaron Peterson

I moved your thread to the landlords forum.

Snow removal ... it will be here before you know it ... .I've already put our RFQ as we were not happy with our service in one city last winter.

In our experience, when it comes to landscaping/lawncare and snow removal, anytime you cannot define where one tenant's domain ends and another begins, the obligation falls to the landlord.

If you have a side-by-side duplex or a row of townhouses where each tenant has their own drive and patch of green, you can hand-off snow removal and lawn care to the tenant ... though you are just as often better served to take care of it yourself and bake it into the rent.

Anytime you have stacked units or a block (such as a small purposely built quadruplex), the parking and green space are common areas (just like stairwells in the interior) and fall to the landlord.

And once you know your situation based on your jurisdiction (see your relevant landlord tenant rules too) layout, and situation, you have two choices: (1) DIY or (2) Hire it Out. 

The snow is coming, so you have to have a plan and not rely on the kindness of strangers (or tenants).

On DIY: I see some smaller scale landlords with a plow on their truck (and it may pencil out if you have enough units or be ideal if you have one anyway to do a long driveway or private road to your home). Or with a duplex driveway, one could try a snowblower or one of the body sled type shovels (depends on your amount of snowfall and personal fitness/interest). You look young in the photo--so you have no cost landlord CrossFit as an option. The bigger issue may be the frequency of visits, so unless it is on your way to work or something, you may be driving there alot (in the snow of course)...

On hiring it out: It might be ideal is to find someone who already does the neighboring multiplexes (and does it well). Maybe ask a landlord neighbor. I find duplex,triplexes and quads are often nearby in clusters due to zoning, etc. That contractor is already in the neighborhood (no separate trip) and experienced. Maybe work on timing to have the tenant's vehicles out of the way. And even with a plow truck, check details like the porch, sidewalk etc. This may be the part you delegate to the tenant (or contract out or DIY). Start now, many of the best folks are booked already (and not available when the snow storm has already hit). 

Best of luck!

glad to see other Ohio people on here!

My wife and I have a triplex just east of canton in a small rural town. The parking lot gets plowed by a hired truck( we live out of state) and each unit is responsible for their own sidewalk/deck. Which is maybe 10-15 steps to the parking area.

I know other multi units will supply a shovel ( that is returned at end of lease) and one bag of salt per season. Some tenants will buy the wrong salt that eats away the concrete. Supplying salt will help against that.

Originally posted by @Aaron Peterson :

I'm somewhat new to Ohio and I'm looking to buy some duplexes (triplexes and quads). I'm wondering what the standard is for snow removal? With a smaller multi-unit, do tenants expect to remove snow themselves or do they expect it to be done by the owner? I know I'm a larger apartment complex they expect the owner to deal with it.

One of the many downsides to investing in Multis. Snow and grass. It is almost impossible to dictate which tenant does what (unless there are two driveways, etc) so all of this falls on the LL and costs you money and TIME! 

I cannot speak for the average costs because everyone with a truck (for snow) charges differently. Many lawn care people do snow as well in the winter, so I would suggest keeping an eye out for them. You will want someone reliable and will get there on time. If the tenants need to go to work and they see a driveway that is not cleared, you will be getting angry phone calls right away!

Best of luck to you!