Councilman wants city to shovel property owners’ icy sidewalks

It’s become apparent to even New Yorkers who have lived here for decades that we’ve been suffering through one of the harshest winters in recent memory. Incessant cold and copious amounts of snow have made this winter one to remember — or one to forget, depending on your viewpoint.

As a result, ordinary sidewalks around the city have become treacherous. It’s the duty of property owners to make sure that their sidewalks are clear, and for some, that has been tough this weekend. However, unusually brutal conditions aren’t enough to excuse people from making sure this is done. If someone slips and falls on an icy sidewalk that has been ignored by its supposed caretaker, a premises liability issue could arise.

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In order to keep city residents safe, one councilman is proposing that New York City workers take care of sidewalks that haven’t been shoveled in a timely manner — and then bill the responsible property owners to the tune of $250 for their trouble. He says that, as it stands now, property owners might be fined for failing to keep their walkways clear, but the fine does not necessarily compel them to address the underlying problem.

Under the plan, the city would hire seasonal workers to do the shoveling. The councilman says the $250 fines issued to the homeowners would cover the cost of these temporary employees. As it stands now, the fine handed down to tardy property owners is just $100.

Even if the plan goes into effect, people still may be injured in a slip-and-fall accident on another person’s property. Experienced personal injury attorneys can offer advice when this happens.

Source: New York Daily News, “Shovel shuffle: Proposed NYC law would charge lazy homeowners for clearing snow,” Erin Durkin, Feb. 19, 2014

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