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Property owners often ask if and when they must remove snow or ice. More information may be found here.

What you will discover:

Who is in charge of snow removal?
How soon after a snowstorm must snow and ice be removed?
What happens if I do not shovel my driveway or remove snow from my roof?
What is the fastest method for removing snow or ice?
What happens if a renter or visitor slips and falls on ice?

If you live in a section of the nation where the winters are particularly harsh, you may be used to dealing with snow and ice. The legal requirements for dealing with snow and ice on your property vary greatly depending on where you live and how you live. Because snow and ice removal requirements differ by state, you may want to learn more about what your lease, state, or municipal laws demand.

Who is in charge of snow removal?

In general, whomever owns the land is responsible for clearing the pathways of snow and ice. Local governments in certain locations remove snow off public paths or oblige property owners to do so within a particular time frame. Legal obligations to remove snow may include:

Local or state legislation.
Lease Contracts.
Bylaws of a homeowners’ association (HOA).
Contracts for services.

Furthermore, if you rent or own property, you may be held legally and financially liable for accidents that occur on your property. This includes injuries caused by failing to clear snow and ice off paths in a fair period of time.
Snow removal regulations

Some states and municipalities have their own snow removal regulations. Other states, particularly those with little or no snowfall, do not. States sometimes allow local governments or property owners to set their own regulations.

State snow removal rules prioritize pedestrian safety on sidewalks and other public paths. Property owners in New York City, for example, are required to shovel snow off sidewalks and other public paths that are on or near their premises. They are not required to do this while it is snowing, but they must remove the snow within a set period after the precipitation ceases. If the snow stops during the day, it might be done within four hours, or by 11 a.m. if it stops overnight.

Contracts, in addition to legislation, may specify who is liable for snow removal. For example, a Lease Agreement may make it the landlord’s or tenant’s responsibility, or a HOA may agree to hire a landscaping firm to do it. Unlike state or municipal regulations, which typically solely address the removal of snow from public paths, leases might include a need for snow removal to safeguard the property. This may include shoveling driveways and removing snow from rooftops.

In the case of a condo or apartment complex, the landlord or HOA is most likely responsible for clearing snow from the common areas. Snow removal may be the responsibility of the landlord or the tenant in a single-family residence.

If a Lease Agreement does not specify who is responsible for snow removal, the landlord and tenant might sign a Lease Amendment to include a provision for it. If a condominium owner rents out their unit, the Condominium Lease might specify who is accountable for what. If you rent out a portion of your home, a Roommate Agreement might help you determine who is liable for what.
Property liability

Even though there are no particular state or municipal snow removal requirements, failure to remove snow may result in personal injury lawsuits if someone slips and falls on your property. A sort of personal injury claim known as premises liability allows a person to sue a property owner for injuries sustained on that person’s property. This generally occurs when the property owner fails to repair a harmful situation or fails to alert others about it. This might involve snow or ice accumulation.

How soon after a snowstorm must snow and ice be removed?

If you are legally compelled to clear snow, the length of time you have to do so is determined by the source of the rule:

The majority of state and municipal legislation demand snow removal within a few hours after a snowfall.
Leases and HOA regulations may specify that snow or ice be removed on a regular basis, as well as shoveling within a specific period of time following a snowfall.
Premises liability law often requires property owners to make reasonable efforts to eliminate dangers such as significant volumes of ice or snow. It does not specify a time limit as long as the property owner attempts to reduce the danger of harm. The exact circumstances surrounding the harm being claimed will determine whether or not a property owner has violated premises liability statutes.

What happens if I do not shovel my driveway or remove snow from my roof?

If you leave snow on your walkway, your city, county, or HOA may penalize you or impose additional penalties. It may also allow someone to pursue a personal injury claim if they slip and fall.

Leaving snow on your roof or driveway might result in property damage. Water may leak into gaps in the concrete when snow melts on your driveway or walkway. If it freezes again, the fissures may develop larger. Snow on your roof may create a variety of problems for your property, ranging from water damage caused by melting snow to damage caused by the weight of the snow pile. This might cost you money and create complications.

Landlords who have Lease Agreements that require them to remove snow may risk legal consequences if they do not do it immediately. They might definitely anticipate a Tenant Maintenance Request or a Landlord Complaint. Tenants may have legal claims against the landlord depending on how long they wait for the snow to be removed.

What is the fastest method for removing snow or ice?

When shoveling snow, the most crucial factor to remember is safety. It is common knowledge that shoveling snow is a difficult undertaking. Furthermore, the chilly temperatures and slick circumstances make it very hazardous.

If you are in reasonable condition, proper boots, gloves, and a snow shovel should suffice, but it will be hard work. A snowblower may be worthwhile to purchase. Rock salt and other de-icing agents may be useful in removing ice. Some de-icers might cause pavement damage, so do your homework before purchasing.

You might also consider hiring a snow removal company. During the winter, these services often involve snow removal from both driveways and pathways. Some services have monthly prices, while others may have a one-time pay for the full season. Some may restrict the number of service calls or charge different rates based on the amount of work necessary. Regardless, it is critical to understand the service terms, when they will arrive, and who you may contact for service calls.

What happens if a renter or visitor slips and falls on ice?

Property owners have a legal obligation to maintain their property fairly safe. If they are aware of a danger, the law of premises responsibility requires them to either rectify it or notify others about it.

Tenants and visitors may be able to sue property owners under premises liability law if they are injured as a result of a hazardous situation. In most circumstances, the injured party must demonstrate that the property owner neglected to rectify or notify others about the danger. Injury cases are very fact-specific and differ from state to state. If you are worried about prospective harm claims, meeting with a lawyer who is knowledgeable with your state’s laws might assist give some assurance.

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