You usually enjoy the snow, especially if it’s still intact on the roads and sidewalks early in the morning. Later, when you have to go to work or school, you’re glad the winter snow removal service did its job. But who is responsible for clearing the snow? Who clears the ice and slippery roads? Who is responsible in case of an accident? How much does a professional snow removal service cost? We explain what tenants and homeowners need to know.
#1. Who Should Clear and Shovel Snow?
Although snow looks beautiful at first glance, it can be dangerous for pedestrians. When it turns to ice or snow, the pavement looks like a slippery ice rink. As a property owner or manager, it is your responsibility to make sure that traffic is safe in the winter and that the sidewalks and bike paths in front of your home are kept clear. Homeowners can hire tenants or a professional snow removal company to clear the snow, but homeowners must do it themselves. In the case of pavements, the whole area does not need to be cleared: a lane where two pedestrians can pass between each other is sufficient, which is about 3 to 5 feet. The same applies to publicly accessible footpaths and spaces, stairs and restricted areas.
Failure to clear snow can quickly lead to an accident for which you, as the responsible person, will have to pay. This can be very costly: in the US, you can be fined up to $10,000.
#2. When To Remove Snow in The Morning
In cities and towns, the obligation to clear and remove snow starts at 7am during the morning rush hour. However, in some places it starts only at 8 a.m. The clearing and gritting obligation usually ends at 20:00, unless the road is very busy.
#3. Which Spreading Material Can Be Used in Winter Service?
Sand, granules, gravel or ash are used for winter road maintenance. Although road salt is available in household shops, it is banned in many places. If this is the case, you can be fined for spreading salt. Wood chips are also unsuitable for spreading. It absorbs moisture and is a slipping hazard. If a passer-by slips, the landowner must pay for the damage.
#4. Where Can You Place the Snow During Winter Service?
If you are clearing snow on a footpath or cycleway, you should not push it onto the road as this makes the road less safe. For example, deposit snow on your own property or in a designated parking area. If this is not possible, snow should be deposited on the side of the road. Under no circumstances should it obstruct traffic. At intersections and road crossings, care should be taken to ensure that snow piles do not obstruct the vision of drivers.
Drainage channels, culverts, driveways, entrances and exits, bus stops, disabled parking spaces and cycle lanes should generally be kept free of snow and ice in winter.
#5. When Are Municipalities Responsible for Winter Service?
In general, councils are responsible for winter road maintenance on roads where there is no resident responsible for winter road maintenance. The council must also fulfil its obligation if the ploughing vehicle breaks down or is damaged.
#6. How Can You Save Tax on Snow Removal in Winter?
Snow removal in Winter is tax deductible: What tenants and homeowners should consider
If you, as a tenant or homeowner, order and pay for winter snow removal from a service provider, you can deduct the cost of winter road maintenance from your tax as a service related to your dwelling. 20% of the cost is deducted directly from your income tax by the tax authorities. You can also deduct the cost of sand or gravel.
Snow removal services are tax deductible: What property owners should take into account
If the homeowner undertakes the snow removal themselves, they cannot deduct the costs incurred as a service related to the home, but they can claim it as a cost related to rental and lease income.