GOT SNOW?

Published on: January 13, 2017

This past weekend many areas saw their first significant snow fall this season. If Associations have not done so already, it is not too late to adopt snow and ice policies which clearly (and correctly) establish the duty and responsibility for snow and ice treatment between those that unit owners are responsible for, those that the association is responsible for, as well as those gray areas in between.

In Massachusetts, courts now evaluate liability for snow and ice related injuries under a reasonableness criteria, where a property owner owes a duty to use reasonable care to maintain its property in a reasonable safe condition, in view of all of the circumstances. For this reason it is critical for associations to take preemptive steps to adopt and communicate by policy, what areas of the property the association is responsible for treating, and what areas unit owners are responsible for. Certainly, common area roadways and entranceways have to be treated by an association. But interpreting who is responsible for clearing snow and ice from individual balconies, decks and patios, as well as stairways, walkways and driveways that serve individual units is not always easy.

Fortunately, communities have some options afforded to them under the provisions of M.G.L. c.183A, Section 6, which in certain cases, may allow Managing Boards to shift maintenance responsibility for limited common areas to individual unit owners. Some of our clients have been able to significantly reduce liability exposure, as well as reduce the price tag for snow and ice treatment, in general.

If you would like to discuss snow removal resolutions for your condominium associations, please contact Mark Einhorn at meinhorn@meeb.com or call him at 781-843-5000, ext.121.