B.P. from Pennsylvania writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I own a condo in Pennsylvania. Our snow removal bills have been exorbitant the past 2 years: $60,000+! Can we change the bylaws to make individual owners responsible for snow removal at their units or are we doomed to continue paying ridiculous snow removal contractor’s bills?
Mister Condo replies:
B.P., you are doomed! As are the rest of us living in condominiums and HOAs where snow removal is the responsibility of the association. The reason is simple. The association is responsible for “slip and fall” accidents that occur on the common grounds and deciding to not remove the snow would open them to liabilities far more costly than removing the snow. Plus, individual unit owners do not own the common grounds that make up their driveways and roadways surrounding their unit. They are owned by the association and are their responsibility.
It is better to let the association handle the snow removal. What most associations have done is adjust their snow removal budget to handle the likely increased expense. I know of many associations that are simply issuing special assessments at the end of the season because snow removal costs have exceeded the budgeted amounts. The bottom line is that if you live some place where it snows a lot, you will pay a lot for snow removal.
Warmly yours, Mister Condo!