RealManage Insight

What is Your HOA Snow Removal Policy?

by Kimberly Sutherland on Jan 13, 2022 9:30:00 AM

If your HOA is in a snowy area, snow removal is vital for winter planning. When the snow falls thick enough, the city will typically have public roads plowed, however, this may only cover your neighborhood's core and through routes and is dependent on the city's schedule. You'll need to develop a community-wide snow removal policy if you want your HOA's roadways to stay transparent, safe, and driveable for all homeowners.

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Snow removal got divided into three stages. The first is to keep streets driveable by plowing them, and the second is to shovel sidewalks. The third is applying rock salt or de-icer to ensure that your pavements have traction and are safe to step across. What is your HOA snow removal policy? If you don't have one, or last year proved your policies insufficient, it's time to put some serious thought into next year's approach to regular snow removal.

Pre-Arrange Snow Removal Before the Snow Falls

First, engage a snow removal business to come to plow your private roads whenever it snows to a specific thickness - or on a regular winter schedule for extremely slippery areas.
Before the first snowfall, two issues must be addressed:

The first is to provide your snow removal service with a glimpse of your property before it gets hidden by snow. Then, they will construct a map and indicate the locations of the curbs and driveways so that the plow may move as effectively as possible.

The second reason is to make sure your snow plow is available on days when the snow falls thickly. Many venues and neighborhoods pre-book snow removal, and they attend to clients who book early before those who call for last-minute plowing.

Partner with Landscapers to Clear Sidewalks and Pathways

Of course, plowing the roads and parking lots is not all your neighborhood needs. To remain safe to walk and enjoy, you will also need a plan to clear walkways and lay down de-icer regularly - more often than you bring in the plows. For this, you will likely want to work with your landscaping team. Landscapers often switch to snow removal and outdoor ice safety during the winter when there are fewer flowers and shrubs to tend on the property.

Your landscaping team can help clear walkways, keep the park usable, and ensure there's plenty of de-icing grit on the pavements to prevent icy slips.

Remind Homeowners of On-Property Snow Removal Duties

In most HOAs, part of the snow removal policy falls on homeowners to shovel their driveways, walks, and sidewalks in front of their house. But not all homeowners are going to remember this duty. So to avoid a patchwork of shoveled walks and unwanted winter citations, send out friendly reminders about getting ready for the snow-shoveling season with your monthly newsletters, at meetings, and even with door flyers.

If possible, connect your residents with a good deal on snow shovels and outdoor gear. Consider organizing shoveling hours where neighbors can wave to each other while taking care of the daily or weekly tasks. Challenge your residents to post their fitness tracker stats for snow shoveling workouts. This activity can bring the community together in a shared effort.

Organize Services for Homeowners Unable to Shovel

Lastly, let's not forget residents who cannot shovel their walks and driveways. Elderly homeowners, new parents, and infirmed professionals may not have the physical energy or time to dig. The kind way to keep your HOA well-shoveled without citations is to organize a help system. For example, you might set up a volunteer system, connect homeowners to pay each other for shoveling, or provide an easy paid service for landscapers to care for homes that cannot shovel themselves.

What is your HOA's snow removal policy? If your plans do not completely cover the needs of your ice-covered community, now is the time to update those policies for a more effectively snow-managed winter next year.

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