When it Comes to Inclement Weather, How Much is Enough?

Prepare for winter weather.

We’re hardly into winter and already most of the country has been hit hard by snow, sleet, ice, and Arctic temperatures. It’s certainly made it a challenge for property managers trying to keep ahead of the weather and make sure their properties are safe for residents. Of course that’s the number-one concern, but the question can often become, “Where do I stop?”

After a typical winter storm, a property manager will send out the maintenance crew (or a contractor will come, if that’s the arrangement) and plow the streets, parking lots, and common areas. They’ll also typically shovel walkways and clear emergency exit doorways. But is that enough?

Some properties take the extra step of spreading sand and/or ice melt on sidewalks and near access points to help mitigate slippery conditions. So then is that enough?

Many property managers who have property management software (or at minimum, a resident e-mail list) will send out reminders to tenants to keep their heat at a certain minimum to prevent pipes from freezing, or to inform everyone of parking restrictions or the plans for/progress of snow removal. Surely that must be enough.

The point is that property managers should do as much as possible to make things safe as possible following a spate of bad weather, but it can be, forgive the pun, a slippery slope. If a property manager goes completely over the top for the first storm and then has a reduced budget for the rest of the season, residents will likely complain that none of the efforts ever equalled the first one. And if a property manager attempted to do absolutely everything they could after a storm, they’d likely find a bottomless well. There’s always going to be something more you can do.

So pacing is paramount, as is assessing each storm as it comes and responding appropriately. And remember — only 65 days till spring!

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