March 3, 2015 — Spring may be allegedly around the corner, but the snow is still coming — an inch here, three there, falling on top of all the other snow this relentless winter has sent our way. Depending on where you live, snow may still be accumulated on rooftops and, unfortunately for one shareholder in a small brownstone co-op, terraces. The shareholder tells Ronda Kaysen in this week's "Ask Real Estate" column in The New York Times that his unit has a terrace directly above his neighbor’s bedroom ceiling. "The house rules and the proprietary lease require me to keep my terrace free from snow, but the rules do not explain where I should put the snow," he writes. Kaysen explains that when your apartment comes with a terrace, the burden of shoveling falls on your shoulders. Indeed, most co-ops and condominiums require residents with private balconies or terraces to shovel the snow and clear the ice that accumulates there. "While the rules are loud and clear about what to clean up, they are typically silent about how to clean up," Kaysen says. Even if your terrace doesn't face the street and sidewalk below and your downstairs neighbors give you the green light to knock the snow to the garden, it's not a good idea. Injure anyone with falling snow and you open yourself up to a lawsuit, explains real estate lawyer Steven R. Wagner. A better solution? Shovel it into a large container and let it melt in the shower. Them's the breaks, but look at it the bright side: you have a terrace you can enjoy once the weather lets us all thaw out a bit.
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