Stairs canopy, is it a good solution?

15 Replies

Hello Everyone, I own a few properties in CT. One day after the recent “bomb cyclone” we had a tenant slip and fall down some stairs. We did everything properly, but the stairs still froze over. I would like to eliminate this issue from reoccurring, I was thinking of installing a stair canopy of some sort that would run the length of the stairs (6 steps). Does that seem like a viable solution or is it overkill? Is there another alternative that you could recommend? Can anyone recommend a company that can fabricate something like this? Thank you.

Though you are further south, I would either install a fixed roof (ledgered on the building and extending over the stairs) or enclose the stairs completely rather than bother with a canopy.   Canopies here tend to be summer items as they do not endure {multiple} winters well..

1(506) 471-4126

@Kash Chau

What’s tenant’s action or reaction after falling from stairs 

Thanks @Roy N.  enclosure might be the right direction.

@Sai T. we are trying to setup a meeting this week and see what she wants... according to relative, there is a list of demand being created :/ if its reasonable, we will accommodate otherwise we will have to file a claim with our insurance.

We have used support posts and an overhang of corragated steel or plastic like a carport roof. We could prefab the wrought iron structure offsite and install. Not as durable roof as permenant roofing but for some areas the clear plastic roof material keeps the snow off while not creating a cave in summer. The look blends with the property. A lot depends on your timeline and what the isssue is, ours was icing up steps and offsite fabrication was key.

Did you follow your local rules for snow removal and take steps to mitigate your risk? Installing a canopy won't stop the snow/rain that comes in from the sides. Installing an enclosure may help, but what happens when the tenant steps outside the enclosure and slips on the ground? Are you willing to install a covering for every surface on your property?

Use salt/sand when it snows to prevent ice buildup and that's really all you can do. Tenants bear some responsibility for their own agility.

Also what material are the steps? For stone steps we leave salt buckets and scoops out all winter in addition to clearing the steps. For wood steps my parents had some grip strip stuff on a steep run of steps years ago not sure that is current. Also a mat on the landing.

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :
Also what material are the steps? For stone steps we leave salt buckets and scoops out all winter in addition to clearing the steps. For wood steps my parents had some grip strip stuff on a steep run of steps years ago not sure that is current. Also a mat on the landing.

Yeah, I do the same. Salt usually does the job for me, but I think this does depend on what material the steps are, as some material is more slippery than others (ie. wood steps). I also place mats near the door to ensure that the tenant doesn't slip inside the house. I feel as though a stair canopy may be a little much, especially if the area you live in doesn't receive a lot of harsh winter conditions like snow and hail. Ensuring that walkways/driveways are properly salted and using mats may be effective, in my opinion.

I had a contract come out and take look.  The small overhang for the landing doesn't have gutters to divert the water away from the steps.  I will have the gutters installed and see how well that works. 

I had the snow cleared, and wooden steps cleared.  During the summer, I painted the steps with paint that had sand mixture in it to provide a little bit better grip.  I also left a bucket of salt and shovel for the tenants, and they have been using them.

I was finally able to speak to the tenant, she informed us that she has already been talking to her lawyer, looks like I will have to file an insurance claim :(  Not sure how this will play out, I wasn't negligent in keeping the property clean and resources available for tenants to prevent slips and falls.

@Kash Chau

I’m assuming it’s multi units rental.

Do o you have enough liability insurance coverage and Umbrella policy 

@Sai T. Yes a multi family, insurance coverage is 500,000, no umbrella policy, but the property is under a separate LLC.

She attorneyed up. Cancel your meeting with her, turn in the insurance claim, don’t talk to anyone anymore about the circumstances.

You did a lot to mitigate. You could not control the bomb cyclone, I feel it would be a tiny settlement due to the fact you owe no duty to prevent extreme weather.

But quit talking to them now. Every attorney will advise the same.

Obviously speak to your attorney and only them. That is a privileged conversation.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.