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Condo | HOA Lawyers

Navigating the Legal Snowdrift: Ensuring a Solid Snow Removal Contract

As winter arrives, associations and community association managers must prepare for the inevitable task of establishing smooth and safe snow removal operations. While hiring a professional snow removal service is essential, paying close attention to the language contained in these contracts is equally crucial. Unclear wording can result in legal complications piling up as rapidly as snowflakes. To avoid such issues and limit the risk of liability, it is imperative to review your snow removal contract to ensure it includes the following key elements.

1. Precise Identification of Parties
The very first element of a solid snow removal contract is the accurate identification of parties involved. This includes providing correct legal names, addresses, and telephone numbers for both the association and the contractor. A simple oversight in this regard can lead to confusion and potential disputes down the line.

2. Clear Definition of Contract Length
The contract should specify the start and end dates along with any renewal terms of the service. This helps avoids any ambiguity regarding the duration of the snow removal services.

3. Contractor Status as an Independent Contractor
Clearly define the contractor as an independent contractor, not an employee of the association. This distinction is crucial for tax and liability purposes and ensures the contractor will be responsible for their own tax obligations and insurance.

4. Adequate Insurance Coverage
To protect both parties, the contractor should be required to carry various types of insurance, including workers’ compensation, general and public liability, and automobile liability insurance. These insurance provisions guarantee that any accidents or damages that occur during snow removal operations are covered, thereby reducing the association’s liability.

5. Detailed Service Specifications
Explicitly outline the responsibilities and specifications of the work to be performed. This includes the scope of the snow removal, areas to be cleared, frequency of service, and any specific requirements unique to the property.

6. Safety and Damage Responsibility
Safety protocols and responsibilities for both parties during snow removal operations should also be clarified and cover a variety of issues such as property damage, injury prevention, and reporting procedures in case of accidents or damage.

7. Price and Payment Terms
To ensure both parties are on the same page for costs and billing, the contract should provide clear and specific details concerning the price for snow removal services and the terms of payment.

8. Indemnification Provisions
Make sure to include a provision for indemnification. This protects the association and its board against liabilities arising from the contractor’s actions or negligence, serving as a crucial safeguard against significant legal expenses in the event of a dispute or accident.

9. Default and Remedies
Outline the conditions and remedies for default and any failures to perform in the contract. This section should specify the steps to be taken in case of a breaches of contract and include potential penalties or termination clauses.

In conclusion, the language contained in a snow removal contract should not be taken lightly. Neglecting to include these essential elements can lead to legal complications and liability issues as troublesome as a blizzard. To ensure your association’s protection and legal compliance, it is highly advisable to review your snow removal contract thoroughly.

If you’re uncertain about your contract or have concerns about potential liabilities, consider seeking legal counsel. Having an attorney review your snow removal contract can provide the peace of mind and legal protection your association needs to navigate the winter season without accumulating unwanted legal troubles.

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