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With Winter Comes Property Hazards
It’s winter and the sidewalks can be slippery. But clearing walkways in front of your home is more than just a friendly gesture. If someone slips on snow or ice, you could be at risk.
A recent article in the Abington Patch reminds us that every city or township has codes that residents are required to follow. Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, you are responsible for taking reasonable steps to prevent potentially dangerous conditions on the properties you inhabit. Failing to do so not only puts visitors at risk, but opens up the possibility of being fined – or, worse - sued.
Often, township codes (be sure to check with your municipality for details) includes the following requirements:
- The owner or occupant is responsible for shoveling snow and removing ice from walkways in front of the home. They must create a footpath that’s at least three feet wide, within 24 hours of the snowfall.
- Any ice or snow removed from these walkways must be put somewhere else on the same property. If there’s a lot of snow, it also may be placed along the curb, but not in the street.
- Corner properties must include a walkway that allows people to cross the intersection.
- If the snow or ice is too difficult to remove because it’s solidly frozen, the walk may be covered in sawdust, sand, ashes or similar material.
- Snow cannot cover fire hydrants.
- Snow or ice cannot be put in a public place in the township unless it’s broken up and spread evenly.
Knowing your duties as a homeowner or occupant will help protect you from the legal dangers of someone slipping on snow or ice this winter.
Contact us if you have questions or need advice on a particular legal situation.