One of the benefits of living in a condominium complex is that all the exterior maintenance is taken care of for you. Lawncare and snow removal are the responsibility of the homeowner's association or HOA. If, however, you are a member of the HOA, you will need to know what questions to ask about snow removal before presenting a contract to the full board for approval.
1. Snow Depth: Before hiring an HOA snow removal service, be sure to ask at what depth they come out to plow. Most services have a minimum snow depth of one inch. Any less than one inch and they will not plow.
2. Return Visit: During a heavy snow event, you will want to know how often they will return to your property. Ask what the policy is regarding this. If a crew plows several inches at 5 a.m. and it keeps snowing until 11 a.m., will they return to plow again and how soon?
3. Service Area: Always ask what the service area is for the snow removal company that you are considering hiring for your HOA. You want to be right in the center of it. If you are on the outer rim of a company's service area, you may not get the attention you are looking for in a snow removal company or, worse, you may be serviced last.
4. Time: Insist on knowing what time you will be serviced. While no one can predict the weather, you need to have a contract that states overnight snow will be removed prior to 6 a.m. This will allow the residents in your complex to exit and head to work in a timely manner without the hassle of unplowed streets.
5. Crew Size: Knowing the size of a company's crew can help you gauge how efficient they will be in snow removal for your complex. While a small crew can still do a good job, a larger company may be able to handle heavy loads better throughout the season.
6. Sidewalks: Some snow removal contracts include hand-shoveling the sidewalks and applying a snow melting product, while others do not. If your HOA needs the sidewalks maintained as well, make sure that it is spelled out in the contract before signing.
HOA snow removal is a serious task. The residents -- your neighbors -- need well-maintained streets, driveways, and sidewalks so they can go about their day-to-day lives this winter.