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Are You Obligated by Law to Shovel Snow?

We all secretly hope for snow on Christmas, don't we? It adds some oomph to the magical holiday spirit, turning even the bleakest gray street into a magical sparkling wonderland. That is, of course, until you inevitably need to leave the house, and the snow becomes a nuisance in an instant. What a pity! Now you have to shovel snow - a chore that literally fell on you from the sky.
But could this be something more than a chore? Who legally holds the responsibility to shovel the snow? Is this on you or the municipality?
woman in a red coat and white hat shoveling snow


Long story short, it all depends on where you live. 

While it is that the sidewalks belong to the municipality, that doesn't necessarily mean that they're obligated by law to shovel the snow. Many towns expect the residents to be responsible for shoveling the part of the sidewalk in front of their houses. Neglecting this responsibility makes you vulnerable to a fine. And if the snow piles up high enough, it puts pedestrians at risk. As a property owner, you could even be liable for damages. 


Renters, on the other hand, should check the lease contract. Usually, for single-family homes, the tenant is the one required to shovel the snow. On multiple unit buildings, you can probably avoid the chore altogether. 

Checking the state's laws on the matter will eliminate any other questions. You can do it by clicking here.

One last thing before you pull the snow shovel out of storage. Did you know you could roll the snow for a much cleaner job? No shovel is required. The video below shows you how it works. You'll be the judge on which method is more fun and which one can break your back. 

H/T: MentalFloss
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