In New York State, there are laws in place governing snow removal from sidewalks and public spaces. These laws apply to all businesses, regardless of size or location, so it is essential that you understand what your responsibilities are as a business owner or property manager.
Failure to clear the walkways in front of your commercial property can result in fines, penalties, and possible lawsuits. In this post, we will provide an overview of the laws and explain what you need to do to stay compliant and protected.
New York State Snow Removal Laws
New York State snow removal rules apply to all commercial properties since they are considered a “public place,” covering small businesses, large corporations, shopping centers, hotels, apartment complexes, and similar establishments. All owners and landlords of commercial properties must take action to ensure that their sidewalks are clear at all times after a reasonable amount of snow accumulates (generally 4 inches) or after a specific time has passed after the snow has fallen. Failure to do so can result in fines, penalties, and lawsuits.
Who Is Responsible For Removing Snow From Sidewalks?
As a business owner or landlord, you are responsible for snow removal from the sidewalks on your property. This includes parking lots and any other outdoor space that is accessible to the public (including courtyards, stairways, and decks).
If you are not sure if your property qualifies as a “public place,” it is always best to err on the side of caution and act as if it does.
What Landlords Owe Tenants
New York State law mandates that landlords must remove snow and ice from all sidewalks abutting their properties within 4 to 14 hours after the snow has stopped falling. If the removal is not done during this period due to weather conditions (snow, sleet, or hail), it must be done within 24 hours of the end of the weather event that caused the snow or ice. If you own a commercial property, this legislation means that you must ensure your sidewalks are clear of snow and ice within a specific time frame after the snow stops falling.
Snow Removal Deadlines in New York State
Here are the deadlines for snow removal in New York state. If the snow stops falling between:
- 7:00 a.m. and 4:49 p.m. – Snow must be cleared within 4 hours.
- 5:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. – Snow must be removed within 14 hours.
- For example: If the snow stops falling at 7:00 p.m., the owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other people in charge of any lot or building should make sure the property is clear by 9:00 a.m.
- 9:00 p.m. and 6:59 a.m. – Snow must be removed by 11:00 a.m. the next day.
Penalties for Failing To Remove Snow In New York State
Failure to comply with NYC snow removal rules can result in fines as much as $150 for the first offense and as high as $350 for additional offenses. Businesses may also be subject to lawsuits if an injured person falls on their unshoveled sidewalk or public space. For this reason, it’s crucial that you take snow removal seriously and act in accordance with the guidelines.
Homeowners, property managers, businesses, or others, who do not comply, can face the following penalties:
- $100 to $150: 1st offense
- $150 to $350: 2nd offense
- $250 to $350: 3rd offense and subsequent
What Is The Best Way To Clear Snow From Sidewalks?
There are a few simple things that will make the snow removal process much easier. You may apply the tips below to get started but it is always best to avoid manual labor and contact a professional and reputable snow clearing service to remove snow from sidewalks when possible.
- Shovel early and often.
- This allows you to clear off just an inch or two of new or freshly fallen snow at a time.
- This prevents the snow from becoming compacted.
- This makes the job easier if you suddenly get a large amount of new snowfall.
- Keep your shovel close at hand, so you can quickly access it whenever new snow accumulates.
- Shovel before the new storm arrives, even during light flurries. New York State law requires businesses to clear their sidewalks within 4 to 14 hours of the new snowfall’s end, even if it is still snowing.
- Do not use your shovel to pile new snow onto already-cleared areas. This causes the new snow to become compacted and “heavy.”
- You may use a snowblower for hard-packed new snow and ice (on flat surfaces) but be sure to clear down to the pavement with a scraper afterward.
As you can see, it is critical that businesses comply with snow removal laws governing sidewalks, public spaces, and other roadways. People who own or manage commercial properties need to be cognizant of these nyc snow removal rules because you could potentially face steep fines if your property appears neglected.
Need To Clear Snow ASAP? Call The Experts At Novus Maintenance
If you are unsure about your new snow removal responsibilities, contact Novus Maintenance today. We are experts in New York’s snow removal laws and can clear any sidewalks regardless of the conditions. Novus is the premier provider of commercial snow clearing and ice management services for commercial properties in New York. We have been providing our clients with superior service for many years, so you can trust that your property is in good hands. We are fully insured to remove snow from your commercial area safely and properly.
Contact Novus Maintenance for more information on how you can ensure that your NYC-based business is compliant with new snow removal laws. Our knowledgeable customer support team is always ready to help.