Dealing with snow is part of living in the Washington, D.C. area, and once the white stuff falls, you’ll inevitably have to remove it from your property. There are laws in place letting you know how long you have to shovel snow from the sidewalks in front of your home or business, and you could face a fine if you don’t follow them.
Landlords can include snow removal provisions in their lease agreements, however, making tenants responsible for snow removal. Things are a little trickier for multifamily properties, though, as you’ll likely have to handle the job yourself or hire a snow removal contractor.
Understanding the laws in your local area ensures you know your snow removal deadlines to avoid a penalty. This guide explains the snow removal laws by state and other locales in the D.C. metro area.
Snow Removal Tips for Property Owners
Removing snow can be challenging, but you can make the process easier by preparing yourself ahead of time. Adequate planning puts less strain on your body and minimizes the stress you’ll experience. Some tips to remember include:
Buy the Necessary Equipment
Investing in a good shovel will make the job far more manageable. Snow shovels come in dozens of shapes and sizes, so you’ll want to select one that’s the right height for your body and is light enough to maneuver without much trouble. The material matters, too, as plastic blades are more lightweight, while metal blades are better for breaking up any ice accumulating on your sidewalks.
Dress in Layers
It might seem like a no-brainer to dress warm when shoveling snow, but it’s easy to overheat because the job is hard work. Dressing in layers is recommended because you can remove a layer if you start getting too hot, helping cool you down as you complete the assignment. Don’t forget to wear a knitted hat to keep your head warm on extra cold days because it can prevent frostbite.
Protect Your Body
Snow-shoveling injuries are common, especially if you haven’t had much recent physical activity. Try to push the snow as much as possible, rather than lift it, to avoid back injuries. Listen to your body and take a break when you feel sore or tired to help keep yourself healthy.
Following these tips makes it less likely you’ll experience problems if you’re responsible for snow removal at your properties. Taking the time to do things correctly can help keep you safe and healthy through D.C.’s next snowstorm.
Eight Jurisdictions With Unique Snow Removal Laws in the D.C. Area
Snow removal rules are different everywhere, so landlords should take some time to determine their responsibilities. The fines for failing to shovel your snow can start to add up if you don’t follow the laws. Ordinances in the D.C. area include the following:
1. Snow Removal Laws for D.C.
Washington, D.C., homeowners must clear snow from their sidewalks and curb cuts within 24 hours of a snowstorm. The penalty for failing to comply with this law is a $25 fine per occurrence. Businesses only have eight daylight hours to clear snow or face a $150 fine.
2. Montgomery County Snow Removal
Montgomery County residents must clear snow within 24 hours of a snowstorm’s end, with Chevy Chase, Brookville, Barnesville, Poolesville, and Silver Springs following these rules. Takoma Park residents have until 7 p.m. on the day of the storm or four hours of daylight after an overnight storm, while Gaithersburg home and business owners have 12 hours after the snow stops. Rockville‘s laws depend on the amount of snow, as you have 24 hours to remove up to 3 inches, 48 hours to shovel 3 to 9 inches, and 72 hours to remove 10 or more inches of accumulation.
3. Snow Removal in Prince George’s County
The snow removal laws Maryland uses are fairly simple for Prince George’s County, as all residents have 48 hours to clear their sidewalks after a snowfall. Homeowners typically receive a warning period, but officials can issue $100 fines for ignoring the rules.
4. Frederick County Snow Removal
Homes in Frederick County must remove snow from their sidewalks within 12 hours of the snowfall’s end. The county also has shoveling procedures on where to place the snow to prevent plows from pushing it right back into your driveway.
5. Snow Removal in Alexandria
Alexandria has some variable snow removal laws that are worth learning. You’ll have between 24 and 72 hours to shovel, with the timeline depending on the community’s storm response level. Check the city’s official website for information on the storm response level once the snow stops falling to learn how long you have.
6. Laws in Arlington County
Arlington County in Northern Virginia (NV) also has variable rules, as you’ll have 24 hours if fewer than 6 inches of snow fall and 36 hours if more than 6 inches of snow accumulate. These snow removal laws NV requires are relatively easy to follow, especially since you can assume most snowfalls are under six inches.
7. Fairfax County Snow Removal Laws
You should know Fairfax County doesn’t have any snow removal laws. Community officials ask that you promptly remove snow from your sidewalks, but there isn’t a fine if you fail to do so.
8. Falls Church Snow Removal
Falls Church requires residents to remove snow within 12 hours of the storm’s end. There is a fine if you don’t meet these requirements.
Learning a region’s snow removal regulations makes it easier to stay within the rules. Landlords should be aware of the local laws in the jurisdictions in which they own property to ensure they have the necessary snow removal arrangements in place.
Hire a Property Manager for Help Managing Snow Hassles
Becoming a landlord leaves you with a lot to think about, including various snow removal laws by state. Snow removal is yet another job you could be responsible for handling, but hiring a property manager takes much of this extra work off your plate and puts a professional team on the job.
Nomadic Real Estate offers property management services in D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Our team will ensure you’re following the snow removal laws in the areas you own rental properties, putting your mind at ease during a storm. Contact Nomadic Real Estate to learn more about our property management services.