Ohio State renters salty landlords ignore icy sidewalks
Published: Monday, January 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013 23:01
Treacherous off-campus sidewalks packed with snow and ice caused problems for students making their way to classes last week, but many don’t know where to place the blame.
Not everyone knows who is responsible for the removal of the slippery ice that has caused students to walk through the streets to get to class.
Heather Davis, a third-year in microbiology and Buckeye Real Estate tenant, was not satisfied with the conditions of sidewalks, streets or parking lots when she returned to campus after winter break.
“My entire parking lot had already turned into a solid 2 inches of ice. The conditions of the sidewalks were also horrendous,” Davis said in an email. “Most students weren’t on campus at the time and therefore could do nothing to alleviate the problem.”
Certified property manager of Buckeye Real Estate, Wayne Garland, said if landlords are to take responsibility for shoveling and salting on their own, it creates more liability issues due to a 2002 ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court. Crawford v. Wolfe states that a landlord may be liable for injuries sustained on the property if they could be caused by the landlords’ failure to fulfill their duties in regards to the property’s condition.
“So that’s the way unfortunately we approach it: don’t want to open ourselves to more liability by trying to provide a service and then it creates a potential situation where we get sued,” Garland said.
Kate Aruby, a fourth-year in biology, lives off campus and pays $35 for a spot in her apartment’s parking lot. Because of the parking fee, Aruby said she thinks the snow and ice should be taken care of by her landlord. But that wasn’t done after a late-December snow storm.
Aruby said she called the company and talked to the receptionist.
“She basically said, ‘There’s absolutely nothing we can do. That’s ridiculous for us to go salt every parking lot.’ She was kind of rude about it, actually,” Aruby said.
The representative from her reality company said the company would be unable to take care of the parking lots but suggested Aruby put in a maintenance request to have someone go out and take care of the sidewalks.
Aruby said she did not own a shovel and didn’t have salt on hand to take care of icy sidewalks and parking lots. The snow in the area was not cleared either, Aruby said.
Garland said there is not an ideal situation where everyone would be happy, and students will have to make the best out of the situation.
“Snow removal is not like anything else when it comes to landscaping. When you mow, it’s not a big deal since you can mow when you get there. Everybody wants the snow removed immediately, and obviously that’s impossible,” Garland said.