You walk outside to go to work and you notice that your walkway and steps are icy. You’re running late for work so you decide that you will salt your property later. Or your sidewalk is covered in snow and you don’t want to get your work clothes wet. This mindset could put you are risk for a legal claim.
- If you own a home: Homeowners are responsible for removing snow and ice. If you have homeowners insurance your policy will cover the costs is someone is injured, up to the policy limits.
- If you rent:
- Single family home – you are most likely responsible to take care of snow and ice
- Apartment complex (with 7 other units) – the landlord of property management should be responsible. Make sure to read your rental agreement thoroughly.
- Retirement community – management will most likely take care of snow and ice removal
Every municipality has different laws regarding snow and ice removal. Make sure to know the laws for your municipality.
- Review your homeowner's insurance or check your lease agreement to make sure you fully understand what your coverage is and who is responsible for snow and ice removal.
- Watch for spouts coming from the roof – they can cause ice patches or dangerous icicles.
- If you're out of town or physically unable to remove snow and ice, you still must arrange to have someone else clear your sidewalks and driveways.
- If you have icicles hanging from your home, block off the area with orange cones or brightly colored construction tape until you can remove them.
- Take notice of other safety hazards while removing snow and ice. Water expands when it freezes, so large cracks and holes can appear in your sidewalk, which poses a tripping hazard. Be sure your outdoor lighting is satisfactory as well.