The City of Colorado Springs has an ordinance requiring homeowners, renters and businesses to clear snow and ice from their sidewalks. Fox 21 Colorado Springs spoke with Mitch Hammes, a local Neighborhood Services Manager who says they are concerned with slip and fall issues, and require homeowners to clear their sidewalks after a snowfall within a 24-hour period. They estimate that roughly 75% of property owners have these walks consistently cleared. Apartment managers have responsibility for keeping common areas of complexes free of snow and ice. In rental homes, the tenant and property owner should indicate responsibility in their lease agreement. Businesses are required to clear their walks by 5 p.m. the day after a snowfall. If an individual incurs a slip-and-fall injury on a property, there is potential liability. The city encourages contacting the code enforcement department to report violations; in fact, the city will visit the property and leave a notice if no one is home.
Colorado State Law
The state law is far less aggressive on homeowner responsibility to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks. Owners with public sidewalks that abut their property do not have a duty to clear snow and ice for pedestrians. The public sidewalks are not “property of” the adjacent property owner. This stems from Colorado common law relating to a natural accumulation of snow and ice.
Colorado Springs Local Ordinance
The ordinance addresses dangerous accumulations of snow and ice that are an unreasonable risk to public safety. The owner is responsible for any public way that provides pedestrian access which abuts or is adjacent to their real property. The owner is responsible for removal of ice and snow within 24 hours from when a snowfall terminates, and commercial properties must be cleared by 5 p.m. the following business day. A business day is between Monday and Friday, with the exception of state or local holidays.
Penalty & Liability
An owner shall be liable for an injury caused by failure to adhere to the ordinance. A violation will be constituted as negligence per se. The city may coordinate and remove the snow and ice, and bill the entire cost to the property owner, which may include costs of inspection.
If you have been injured due to a dangerous condition while on a residential or commercial property, you may be eligible for compensation. Colorado premises liability law allows injury victims to seek reparations for damages. Contact The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal for a complimentary consultation to discuss your case.