Grab Your Shovel – DC’s New Tougher Snow Laws

After a record warm winter, DC’s tough new snow removal laws may get their first test this week. Property owners who used to rely on evaporation – or just wait for spring to melt snow and ice – could get a $150 fine if their sidewalks are not shoveled within 24 hours of a snow storm.

Tired of complaints from pedestrians forced to slip and slide, the DC Council passed new laws last year which now require businesses and homeowners to clear sidewalk snow within one day.

Ice and snow accumulations are the leading cause of winter slips and falls. You would think that businesses would be thoughtful enough to shovel their sidewalks, to attract customers if nothing else. But recent experience has shown otherwise, leading to the new laws.

Businesses can be fined up to $150 for a first offense, and homeowners fined up to $25, again for a first offense. Repeat offenders will face stiffer fines.

Elderly and disabled persons are exempt from the new law, but how their snow will be removed is unknown. In neighboring Baltimore, the city government pays young people to shovel – DC just issues a fine. But a new program by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser seeks to enlist neighborhood volunteers to shovel snow for seniors and disabled residents. We will have to wait for
the first big snow storm to see how that works.

For more information, please contact the D.C. Department of Public Works.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the failure of a business to maintain its premises, contact Zukerberg & Halperin, PLLC for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our trusted attorneys.