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The responsibility of owners to remove snow and prevent injuries

In a city where most people get from one place to another by walking, snowy and icy sidewalks are problematic. If sidewalks remain uncleared, this increases the chances of someone slipping and falling, which often leads to injuries.

Residential and commercial property owners must remove snow and ice within a specific window of time. Not doing so may result in unwanted consequences.


Icy sidewalks and parking lots pose a danger to pedestrians. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discusses that, while everyone is susceptible to falling in certain conditions, the elderly are at higher risk of injuries. Some common injuries include head injuries and fractures of the wrist, hip, arm and ankle.


According to the Official Website of the City of New York, the individuals responsible for removing ice and snow are the property owners or individuals in charge of residential and commercial properties. This removal must also take place within a certain time frame.

If snow stops falling between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM, the owner must clear the snow within four hours. If it stops between 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM, removal must occur within 14 hours. If the snow stops between 9:00 PM and 7:00 AM, clearing must occur by 11:00 AM.


The city even has specific rules about how the property owner must shovel the snow. The owner must:

  • Clear snow and ice so there is open access to the crosswalk (pertains to corner properties)
  • Remove ice and snow so there is at least a four-foot-wide path
  • Shovel around fire hydrants and bus stops, if they are in front of the property
  • Refrain from shoveling into the street

The Department of Sanitation may hand out tickets to owners who do not comply with the sidewalk-clearing rules.

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