Although Dallas and Fort Worth recently experienced their first snow of the year, it’s always best to keep in mind that Texas winter weather can be unexpected, and more snow can easily be in the near future.
While snow days are fun, snow can also prove to be a slip and fall problem or accident hazard when left unattended throughout an HOA community.
Your association should always have a snow removal policy prepared. However, if you know your policy needs revisions, this post is your first chance at creating a policy that works hard to keep your residents safe.
Here’s a closer look at how you should review your current snow removal policy, how owners can get involved, and what specifics to look out for when hiring a third-party snow removal service.
Review Your Current Snow Removal Policy
Before the next snow falls, you want to make sure that your association’s snow removal guidelines are clear. Some snow removal policies have the association heavily involved with removal while others have a more hands-off approach when winter weather strikes.
If your current snow removal policy isn’t up-to-date and the current sitting board is ready to make changes, some of the biggest items for members to consider are:
- Determining if a snow plowing service is necessary
- Which parts of the community the HOA is responsible for clearing
- Where does owner responsibility begin and end
As with all policy changes, make sure that your association owners remain informed. After all, if changes are made without proper communication, policies won’t be properly carried out and your HOA could be held liable for any incidents that occur.
Defining Owner Snow Removal Responsibilities
When it comes to figuring out what your owners are responsible are during a snowfall, the best way to approach it is by focusing directly on their property.
Most associations hold owners responsible for clearing out:
- Their driveways
- Personal parking spaces
- Walkways leading to their home
When defining homeowner responsibilities, it’s also beneficial to encourage homeowners to help out around the community where they can by keeping well-used pathways clear and assisting older neighbors with their snow removal needs.
Hiring a Snow Removal Service
If your association decides that it needs to hire a third-party snow removal company, your management team can easily help you find the right vendor for your needs.
However, it’s also important to keep these three factors in mind when selecting the right vendor for the job.
Gather Cost Information
Your association’s annual budget is limited, so make sure anyone you hire is ready to work within your means.
One of the biggest aspects of the decision is finding out if they charge by the hour or a flat rate. Also, before signing any contract, always review it for any small print additional fees that could go unnoticed.
Document Their Services
Always go with a company that offers your association proof that they’ve efficiently completed their services. These records are not only great for your confidence in the safety of your community but can also serve as evidence if an injury occurs on your property and a lawsuit ensues.
Ensure They Are Insured
Finally, you always want to make sure that any vendor you hire is insured. Liability is something you don’t want on your hands, especially when it comes to something as slick as snow removal.
Always double-check that your contract relieves your association of any liability if a snow removal employee slips and hurts themselves on your property.
Craft a Winning Snow Removal Policy With the Help of Goodwin & Company
If you are a member of your association’s Board and know that your team needs help perfecting its snow removal policy, you need advice from HOA management professionals.
The team at Goodwin & Company has decades of experience helping the associations we serve to become the safest, most appealing neighborhoods within their local communities.
Trust us to be your behind-the-scenes support, while your Board of Directors helps its community move into a brighter future. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.