Published on Dec 14, 2010 by Edgar Snyder

Sidewalk Snow and Ice Removal – What Are the Rules?

shoveling sidewalk snow and ice

We're in the midst of winter weather right now, and in addition to traveling safely and staying warm, there's another concern that should be on your radar: keeping your walkways clear.

Although this may sound simple, municipalities have their own ordinances that must be followed. In the city of Pittsburgh, for example, you have 24 hours to clear away snow and ice. If you don't clear public pathways in that time and are reported to the city, you may receive a citation and face fines.

Be aware, however, that this ordinance doesn't mean you can always wait 24 hours to shovel and salt your sidewalks - the city of Pittsburgh expects walkways to be cleared in a "reasonable" amount of time. This means that if you had plenty of time to get rid of ice and snow before 24 hours was up but didn't, you can still be held liable for any injuries that occur on your property.

Here's more information you need to know about the removing snow and ice:

Homeowners

  • If you're a homeowner, you are responsible for any injuries on your property that result from snow and ice.
  • Your homeowner's insurance will cover the costs of injuries that happen to you or anyone hurt on your property up to your policy limits. You are held directly responsible for any costs that exceed your coverage limit.

Renters

  • If you rent or lease a single family home, you're responsible for taking care of snow and ice.
  • If you live in an apartment complex with multiple rental units, your landlord or property management company is responsible for taking care of snow and ice.
  • If you live in a two- or three-unit property, liability is a little more complicated – you may or may not be held accountable depending on other circumstances. Your best bet is to be safe and keep your walkways clean.
  • Make sure you check your rental agreement to find out your landlord's policy on snow and ice removal.
If you'd like more information on snow and ice removal, you can check out our firm's website and this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.
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