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Dear PoP – Who is Responsible for Shoveling?

by Prince Of Petworth January 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm 21 Comments

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“Dear PoP,

A DC law question for you and your readers: Who the heck is liable for those icy sidewalks?? On December 23rd, two days after your “Sidewalks of Shame” post, I slipped on some ice on the sidewalk directly in front of my apartment building and broke my ankle. Bummer, but extra bummer because I am a waitress and now cannot work for 2 months. I tried to do some research on local liability laws and have ended up more confused than enlightened…

It shall be the duty of every person, partnership, corporation, joint-stock company, or syndicate in charge or control of any building or lot of land within the fire limits of the District of Columbia, fronting or abutting on a paved sidewalk, whether as owner, tenant, occupant, lessee, or otherwise, within the first 8 hours of daylight after the ceasing to fall of any snow or sleet, to remove and clear away, or cause to be removed and cleared away, such snow or sleet from so much of said sidewalk as is in front of or abuts on said building or lot of land.

As a “lessee” mentioned above, does this mean I am responsible for clearing my sidewalks? Or as I am not the “person…in charge or control” of my apartment building, does this mean my landlord will be paying my rent soon?”

Ed. Note: the comments that follow should not be considered legal advice. My guess is that if you live in an apartment building then they are responsible for shoveling. You need to check your lease right away to see what it says. What do you guys think?

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