When winter shows up, it is important to be prepared. Snow can bring a variety of potential issues, including parking problems and even walking difficulties. Many people worry about their neighborhood and wonder how their HOA plans to deal with snow removal in the midst of a snowfall. That’s why it is so important to have your questions answered before the snow arrives, so you are prepared for any potential situation. To better understand your responsibilities and what your HOA’s snow removal policy, your HOA should provide a newsletter or memo with this information.
Know Your Policy
You may be surprised that your HOA is not very active with snow removal, as maintaining public roads is usually a city or county duty. Unless the HOA provides a private plowing company for the entire neighborhood, plowing provided by HOAs may be limited to neighborhood common areas. An HOA may choose to hire a snow removal company to take over snow removal, and though this is helpful, there are a couple different situations that arise due to this scenario. Many snow removal contracts are set up to only require a snow plow after a certain amount of snowfall, which, in the case of a lighter snowfall, can leave walkways slippery and pose potential driving hazards. It is important that you review your HOA snow removal policy leading up to the winter so that you are familiar with what areas they will be responsible for, as well as determining your own responsibilities. Knowing where and what you will have to clear is also important, and being prepared with the right tools to deal with a winter storm is essential.
Know Your Responsibilities
Most HOAs require homeowners to clear their driveways, personal parking spaces, and their sidewalk, meaning homeowners should always be prepared for these tasks. For snow removal, it is important to have a snow shovel to dig out walkways and cars. Shoveling snow may seem like a simple task, but when you take into account that each year, an average of 11,500 people are treated in emergency departments across the United States for injuries related to snow shoveling, it is clear that shoveling snow is not something to be taken lightly. Having a high-quality shovel that is going to hold up to the snowfall, and some rock salt, to help melt the snow and ice can help you greatly with snow removal.
When you know what you are responsible for, and what your HOA is responsible for, you can be more confident in your snow removal situation. Make sure to shovel areas frequently instead of allowing snow to accumulate. It may also help to lay down rock salt on the areas you are responsible for, in order to keep snow from compacting into a layer of ice that could cause slips and fall accidents. If there is already black ice, rock salt can help to melt it which is important as falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits, and can be harder to stop in the winter. You can lower your chances of injury with proper snow and ice removal.
Consider Your Neighbors
Snow and ice removal can be difficult. If you find yourself responsible for clearing an area, make sure to shovel into an area that is not going to be obstructed by the snow or ice. Though you may need to move your car from a parking space, try not to pile snow onto sidewalks or driving areas, as this can create more potential hazards. Make sure that you are removing snow safely into an area that sees less foot and automotive traffic. This makes it easier for your neighbors to clear the areas that they are responsible for, thus making your entire neighborhood safer for everyone.
Keep Your HOA Snow Removal Policy Accessible
It is important that you stay up to date with changes to your HOA snow removal policy, and know exactly what you will have to clear in order to be prepared for any winter storms. Keeping a paper copy of your HOA policy may be helpful as you will be able to have it on hand without having to go searching for it when the time comes to shovel and remove snow from your property.