Who is Responsible for Snow Removal in NYC, Tenants or Landlords?

Close your eyes and think about that one window in your dream New York City home with the fantastic view and the winter snow falling. Peaceful, isn’t it? After the snow has fallen, your first thought might be, “who will clean up this snow? I need to get to work. Do I clean up the snow?”

We are here to answer one of the most asked questions for New York City residents: Who is responsible for snow removal in NYC? 

So, who is responsible?

Commonly, whoever owns the property is responsible for snow and ice removal. This can change from time to time in some areas, the local government takes care of it for sidewalks and roads, or there can be a law requiring property owners to do it in a certain amount of time. Landlords and property managers should be clear on this subject matter and where it is stated. Double-check these documents to have a full understanding: 

  • Leasing Agreement
  • Local and State Laws
  • Americans with Disabilities Act

Leasing Agreement

To create complete clarity, landlords can include snow removal in the leasing agreement. Removing the snow yourself or higher service is best if you own or manage a multi-unit property. If you own a single-family rental, you can specify that the cleanup of snow and ice is the tenant’s responsibility. Be clear and concise about who, when, and where the snow must be removed. 

Local and State Laws: NYC Snow Removal Rules

States and areas where snow falls often usually have rules on snow removal. These laws usually state whether the property manager or tenant is responsible for removal and/or not if the owner or resident is responsible for removing the snow by a specific time frame. Always keep your residents aware of these laws and safety tips to reduce the risk of injury. Some property managers and landlords offer shovels and salt to prevent slipping, lowering their chance of liability. 

You can check NYC rules on snow and Ice removal here

Americans with Disability Act

The American Disabilities Act or ADA states that public agencies clean streets, curbs, and sidewalks. But don’t be too relieved yet; some jurisdictions will pass on snow and ice removal to property owners. The ADA says property owners must remove enough snow from the sidewalks to provide a path for a wheelchair. The space should be a minimum of 36 inches wide. 

The elderly and people with disabilities are exempt from snow cleanup. Snow can be challenging to remove and, depending on the situation, could cause severe injury. If you are considered elderly or a person with a disability, we recommend asking a neighbor, volunteer programs, churches, or youth groups. Several cities also provide subsidies to hire services to come and clean up.

Penalties: What happens if I don’t remove snow in New York City?

The rules can get complicated for snow removal in NYC. It all depends on when the time of day the snow stops falling. The rules are as follows ​​if the snow stops falling between:

  • 7 AM and 5 PM, you must clear sidewalks within 4 hours
  • 5 PM and 9 PM, you must clear sidewalks within 14 hours
  • 9 PM and 7 AM, you must clear sidewalks by 11 AM

If the ice and snow are not removed on time, fees will occur from the department of sanitation as follows: 

  • $100–$150 for a first offense
  • $150–$350 for a second offense
  • $250–$350 for third and subsequent offenses

If there is a failure to comply, the building owner will be charged even if the lease states the tenant is responsible for snow cleanup. In those cases, the Landlord can sue for the amount of the fine.

What if someone slips and falls in NYC due to ice and snow?

There would be a serious liability if someone were to slip and fall in front of your property on the sidewalk due to snow and ice. If the 4-hour time limit to remove snow and ice has expired, hefty damages can be put upon the responsible party, and the usual fine will be placed.  

Steven Smollens, an attorney, recommends that a tenant responsible for an entire building (meaning they rent an entire townhome) discuss liability issues with an insurance agent. A building with multiple tenants might have a superintendent or property manager responsible for snow removal in NYC, but likely the city will fine the building owner. This can result in an injured person making a personal injury claim against both owner and management property. 

And while we can *hopefully* assume that we won’t get hefty snow this year, it’s inevitable that the snow will fall next year and years after. So it’s best to make your action plan sooner rather than later. If you’re still confused, you can always get in touch! We’d love to help!


If you’re interested in learning about buying or selling in Brooklyn, download our free Buying Into Brooklyn Ebook or our Seller’s Guide. We share a ton of valuable resources to demystify the buying and selling process.

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