Besides the fun of building a snowman or going sledding, snow also raises a lot of issues for tenants. How many times a day do I have to shovel snow? Do I have to completely clear the sidewalk or is it enough to clear a strip? And who is liable in the event of an accident on the icy sidewalk? Read our blog to find out more about your rights and obligations regarding winter service.
Correct: In your case, the owner or landlord is responsible for clearing snow. Because if nothing else is defined in the rental agreement, then the property owner is responsible by law for clearing the snow. The situation is different for the rental of a single-family home. Here, the tenant is responsible for clearing snow, even without any corresponding agreement.
The walking path directly in front of the house also falls within the area of responsibility of your landlord – or the mandated janitor. If someone slips here and is injured, the property owner is liable – because they are responsible for safety. This is even the case if the snow clearing has been delegated to another person or company.
If you, as a tenant, are responsible for clearing snow according to the rental agreement, then you must independently make arrangements with the other tenants and share responsibility for the winter service.
If no agreement can be reached, then you should contact the landlord.
Normally, your landlord must provide all the equipment required for clearing snow in the winter: from shovels and brooms to grit. However, the rental agreement or house rules can stipulate other regulations.
You alone are responsible for clearing snow in the following areas – regardless of the rules set out in your rental agreement:
In other words: You are responsible for maintaining the spaces and paths to which you have sole access. This is also referred to as “minor maintenance.” In winter, your janitor is responsible for clearing snow from the garage entrance and outdoor parking spaces and making sure they are accessible.
It’s important to note that if you are renting a single-family home, you are responsible for clearing snow.
If your landlord delegates the clearing work to you, then they have an interest in making sure it is carried out correctly. Because they bear the consequences of a claim.
As a rule of thumb, you have to clear enough space so that two people can easily pass each other. This means a width of about 80 centimeters.
Warning signs or blockages are possible measures after heavy snowfall or in icy conditions. However, they do not exempt you from liability if someone has an accident.
Snow on their property is not the only issue for property owners. The obligation to clear snow also extends to any sidewalks located in front of the property.
The general obligation to clear snow lasts from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. In other words, when most pedestrians are on the go.
The following general rule applies: The owner must maintain the building in such a way that there is no danger for people behaving normally. If someone slips because snow was not sufficiently cleared in front of the house – for example, on an icy sidewalk – then the owner can be held liable. The same applies to masses of snow that slide off the roof and injure passersby.
It is important to choose a suitable place for the cleared snow. Ideally, this should be on your property. The mass of snow should not be shoveled from private property onto a public street or sidewalk. And your neighbors are not likely to be pleased if they suddenly have to deal with the snow from the adjacent property too.
In general, the use of winter salt is allowed, but you should not use it near trees or bushes. However, if it is a dangerous place, for example a steep path, then it is recommended to use winter salt there too, since the safety of people always comes first. Besides winter salt, there are other alternatives, such as grit, sand, or wood chips.
Even in the case of heavy snowfall, your neighbor must observe the quiet hours stipulated in the police regulations. These may vary from municipality to municipality. However, in individual cases the use of a snowplow may be advisable before 7 a.m. In this case, the safety aspect is given greater priority over any noise disturbance. Nevertheless, even in cases of heavy snowfall, a snowplow does not have to be tolerated in the middle of the night.
The driver has to have a 180-degree view ahead. In short: The front windshield and the front side windows have to be completely free of ice. However, we recommend deicing all windows for road safety reasons.
You can find more information about this topic in our "Peephole" blog article.
Yes, you have to make up for the missed work time. Employers only have to continue paying the salary in cases of incapacity to work through no fault of the employee if the reasons for this concern the employee personally. Examples include if the employee is ill, has had an accident, or is fulfilling legal obligations.
If you are late due to snow, a canceled train or a similar reason, you must bear the risk and make up the time. If snow is forecast, you should therefore plan delays into your journey and set off earlier to get to work on time.