Homeowners liable for snow and ice control
(BPT) - Whenever it snows, it is a common sight to see workers at shopping centers and business owners out and about clearing pathways, parking spaces and entrances of snow and ice. But this isn’t just good business to help customers get in the door, it is also a liability issue should someone slip and fall and injure themselves. Homeowners, too, face similar, albeit more limited, liability if they fail to take adequate steps to remove such slippery hazards from their property.
Generally speaking, homeowners are responsible for limiting dangers on their property but in some cases this can also extend to public sidewalks abutting your home. In some localities, governments also require that homeowners clear snow and ice or face fines. A regional survey of county and municipal governments conducted by the Salt Institute found that 83 percent have written policies directing property owners to remove accumulated snow and ice "within 24 hours of the end of the snowstorm." Penalties for property owners not complying can range from nominal tickets, to misdemeanors punishable by up to 90 days in jail, to fines of up to $500.
Shoveling snow is simple enough, but ice is another matter altogether and nothing works better to remove or prevent ice from forming than salt. Salt lowers water’s freezing point, the temperature at which it changes from a liquid to a solid and vice versa. Melting water that has already frozen is called deicing and requires that salt be applied on top of the ice. Preventing water from freezing in the first place is called anti-icing and is applied when a freeze is expected.
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