During winter, New York requires property owners and renters to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks outside their buildings. This helps to keep pedestrians safe and reduces the risk of a slip and fall accident. The city released a guidebook outlining what property owners, managers, and residents must do after a snowfall.
According to the New York City Department of Sanitation, homeowners, property managers, and tenants should prepare for winter by gathering the necessary supplies for clearing snow. This could include shovels, plows, and salt since salt naturally melts ice. The department also recommends hiring an outside service when the snowfall is too heavy for you to clear on your own.
The guidebook states that anyone who owns, leases, rents, or manages a property can be held responsible for clearing the sidewalks adjacent to the building of snow and ice. You do not need to clean the snow and ice while the snow is falling or even immediately after it stops snowing. The department lays out a timeline for when snow must be removed. It depends on when it stops snowing. For example, if it stopped snowing sometime between 7 a.m. and 4:59 p.m., you must clear the snow and ice within four hours after it stopped.
Protect Yourself and Passersby
Removing snow from a sidewalk can be very strenuous, depending on how much snow you have to shovel. If you wait until it stops falling, Consumer Reports recommends removing the snow in layers. Only carry as much snow as you are comfortable lifting. Between 1990 and 2006, about 11,500 people injured themselves while shoveling snow each year. Using the right tools and asking for help when needed is important.
Clearing the snow from the area around your building will help protect pedestrians passing by. But will also help protect you from being held liable for an accident on your premises. By clearing a path for people to pass safely, it is less likely that someone will slip and fall on a snowy or icy surface and hit you with a premises liability lawsuit. The law varies from state to state, but in New York, the property owner will be held liable if someone was injured while walking on snow that was not cleared in a timely manner, as this constitutes a hazardous condition.
Property owners who do not comply with this mandate will face fines of up to $350.
Contact a New York Attorney
If you were involved in an accident in New York City, you might be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, including your medical expenses, lost wages, and more. The New York slip and fall attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to assist you. We’ll do the legal legwork so you can focus on healing. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 to speak with a team member.