Some people love snow and wait for the storms with sincere joy. But if you had to shovel the sidewalk and plow the driveway every time it snows, you’d probably be less enthusiastic about it. And even if you personally don’t mind the snow and ice, nine times out of ten you might still have to remove it from certain areas around your home.
Sidewalks Are the Homeowners’ Responsibility
The regulations regarding snow removal could be issued on both city and county levels, so check with your local municipality for the exact wording. In general, Maryland residents are responsible for clearing sidewalks on all sides of their property of any obstructions, including ice and snow. Municipalities take care of the main roads, but sidewalks become homeowners’ responsibility.
In Baltimore County, for example, all residents and occupants of buildings are expected to clear sidewalks within 24 hour of the snowfall. In Howard County this deadline is 48 hours. If you live within the limits of a major city, such as Baltimore or Frederick, you might only have 10 hours to complete the snow removal, which could mean getting up very early before work.
Check these sites for snow removal regulations in your county. Unfortunately, not all counties have a dedicated page to address this subject.
What if You Rent?
In a rental situation, snow and ice removal from sidewalks is typically the responsibility of the occupant (tenant.) Check your rental/lease contract to make sure it doesn’t specify otherwise. However, in the case of multi-unit structures, such as apartment complexes or office buildings, the landlord is usually the one who has to take care of the sidewalks.
What Happens if you Don’t Remove the Snow?
If the snow and ice are not removed by the city/county-imposed deadline, the local authorities have the right to fine the offender or use county/city equipment to clear the sidewalks at the homeowner’s expense in a form of a lien added to your property taxes.
The fine and lien, however, are not the worst things that could happen. If a mailman or a UPS guy slips, falls and injures himself on your property, they could sue you for the damages. The liability coverage that comes with your homeowner’s insurance will usually cover the expenses, but any damages in excess of that coverage you will have to pay out of pocket. If you knew about the dangerous conditions on your driveway or sidewalk and did nothing about it, you could be held legally responsible for another person’s injury.
As you can see, snow removal in Maryland is more than a matter of personal preference. As a homeowner, a tenant or a property manager you could be responsible for keeping the publicly accessed areas of your property free of ice and snow. But you are not alone in this! Just call 1-855-Got-Paving in case of major snowfall and we’ll be happy to take care of snow removal for you.