Shaw: Apartments in Iowa City should provide snow and ice removal for residents

Apartments in Iowa City have the responsibility of removing snow and ice from the sidewalks, entryways and parking lots of their complexes. However, students have been forced to break out their shovels to avoid wiping out and injuring themselves.

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Shaw: Apartments in Iowa City should provide snow and ice removal for residents

Small bulldozers scrape freshly fallen snow off of the EPB parking lot on February 14, 2016.  The snow started falling early in the morning, making Valentine's Day start by giving Iowa City residents the cold shoulder. (The Daily Iowan/Riley Leaders)

Small bulldozers scrape freshly fallen snow off of the EPB parking lot on February 14, 2016. The snow started falling early in the morning, making Valentine's Day start by giving Iowa City residents the cold shoulder. (The Daily Iowan/Riley Leaders)

Small bulldozers scrape freshly fallen snow off of the EPB parking lot on February 14, 2016. The snow started falling early in the morning, making Valentine's Day start by giving Iowa City residents the cold shoulder. (The Daily Iowan/Riley Leaders)

Small bulldozers scrape freshly fallen snow off of the EPB parking lot on February 14, 2016. The snow started falling early in the morning, making Valentine's Day start by giving Iowa City residents the cold shoulder. (The Daily Iowan/Riley Leaders)

Nichole Shaw, Opinions Columnist

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In Iowa City, residents, residence owners, and companies are required by state law to remove snow from sidewalks 24 hours after 1 inch or more of snowfall, or after accumulation of ice has ended.

However, snow and ice persists on sidewalks, entryways, and parking lots at various apartment locations. Take a trip to the West Side to the apartments near the fraternity houses on Ridgeland Avenue, managed by Apartments Near Campus. There, you will attempt to save yourself from slipping to serious injury at least four times walking across the lot and into the apartment building.

Run back on over to the East Side, and apartments on South Johnson Street managed by Apartments Downtown have sidewalks that I’ve seen numerous people wipe out on, because snow and ice removal has not been done.

RELATED: Students face trouble in Hawk Lot because of winter weather

I tried to reach to Apartments Downtown and after a lack of response from three emails and a phone call from an employee who said she was not at liberty to discuss the management policies regarding snow- and ice-removal responsibilities, it’s clear there is a lack of definitive guidelines and protocol for snow and ice removal at the apartments.

Apartments at Iowa also manages various apartment complexes on South Johnson Street that have ice on the sidewalks, entryways, and parking lots. Similar consequences of slippery falls to a hard, unforgiving ground in a polar-like winter have been experiences by fellow UI students.

“We are responsible for the sidewalks and entryways,” Apartments at Iowa representative said.

RELATED: UISG releases Renter’s Guide

So, despite the legal responsibility of Apartments at Iowa to remove snow and ice that could lead to tenant injury from slips and falls, snow and ice continues to unfairly subject UI students and Iowa City residents to dangerous situations in which they have trouble getting in and out of their units safely.

Snow and ice continues to unfairly subject UI students and Iowa City residents to dangerous situations in which they have trouble getting in and out of their units safely.”

The apartment companies in Iowa City need to do their jobs as management and remove the snow and ice surrounding their residences. While some leases do state that tenants must remove snow and ice from their porches and balconies, there’s no excuse for the continuation of unsafe living conditions of Iowa City tenants who are simply trying to get to and from their residence.

RELATED: Iowa worst for winter recreation, online ranking says

I have seen several students shovel the parking lot where they put their cars by themselves to simply be able to back their cars out of the parking spots they pay monthly fees for. That should be the responsibility of their landlords and apartment owners. The mundane acts of getting to and from class, work, the grocery, or other places has become a taxing and time-consuming job for students and tenants that they shouldn’t even have to experience.

This year’s unforgiving winter and the removal of snow and ice from apartment complexes are not the responsibility of individual tenants. So why are they forced to take on the role of the landlord when they already pay for these services in their monthly rent, according to common lease agreements in Iowa City?

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