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It’s snow time: 3 tips for property owners to reduce liability
It’s snow time!
There is an old joke in the Colorado high country that there are really only two seasons, winter and getting ready for winter! This year is no different. As I drove over rabbit ears pass earlier this week and through Kremmling I saw the first snow sitting on some of the high peaks (pic above).
With the earliest snow in Denver of September 3rd and average around the first or second week of October (typically earlier in the high country depending on the location sometime mid-September). With the leaves starting to change and snow on the way, now is the best time to get your property ready for the changing seasons. Here are 4 tips for commercial property owners and also 3 for residential property owners to get ready for the snow and reduce your liability.
For the commercial property owner, snow can be a challenging time of year with lawsuits from slip and fall, overly optimistic tenant expectations, and a host of other fun that the changing seasons bring. It is critical to properly prepare for snow/ice and other hazardous conditions.
- Set expectations. What are the tenant’s expectations about snow/ice? It is important to read the leases and/or in any new leases specify what will and will not be done. For example, will the owner plow based on 1 inch, 4 inches, 6 inches? Who will be responsible for the sidewalks? Will each tenant shovel in front of their space?
- Make a plan. Once you know the parameters you are working under it is important to make a proper plan. Who will be providing the services. Are you going to do a pay for each plow (for example some providers charge x dollars for each time they plow) or are you going to get a contract for the entire season? What are you going to do to prevent slip and falls? Ice slicer? A sand mixture? Pure salt? A non-corrosive product?
- Ice/snow on the ground isn’t the only hazard. Be mindful of ice/snow on the roof that could move and cause serious damage to a person or property. Based on historical winters, identify high risk areas and install heating cables, snow stops, or utilize other methods to prevent future hazards
- Make sure you have ample coverage in case there is a slip and fall or other accident as a result of the weather
Just as commercial property owners need to be prepared, residential property owners should take a few minutes to think through their winter plan as well
- How are you going to clear? With all the newcomers to Colorado, many people are “surprised” at the snow we get even in Denver. How are you going to keep your driveway and sidewalks clear? Plow service, shovel, snow blower, etc…
- Eliminate hazards. West of Denver once you get into the foothills and higher ice/snow slides off roofs can be life threatening. Every year people die as a result of ice/snow falling/sliding off a roof. This is an easy hazard to prevent by either installing snow stops (brackets that adhere to the roof to keep the snow from moving) or heating cables along the eaves/gutters to prevent the ice damming
- Watch out for the ice! In Denver and throughout Colorado, we get considerable ice as the sun comes out and snow melts, many times it refreezes again at night. If you have pets/kids, consider alternatives to the traditional ice melt (Here is a past blog on 3 non toxic methods for ice)
Written by Glen Weinberg, COO/ VP Fairview Commercial Lending. Glen has been published as an expert in hard money lending, real estate valuation, financing, and various other real estate topics in the Colorado Real Estate Journal, the CO Biz Magazine, The Denver Post, The Scotsman mortgage broker guide, Mortgage Professional America and various other national publications.
Fairview is a hard money lender specializing in private money loans / non-bank real estate loans in Georgia, Colorado, Illinois, and Florida. They are recognized in the industry as the leader in hard money lending with no upfront fees or any other games. Learn more about Hard Money Lending through our free Hard Money Guide. To get started on a loan all they need is their simple one page application (no upfront fees or other games).