Winter has finally arrived in a big way with today’s snow and ice storm. If you are a tenant renting your apartment, absent a lease to the contrary, you have a right to expect your landlord to take all reasonable steps to make sure the parking lots and walkways are cleared so that you do not slip and fall on the ice.
But what does it mean to take all reasonable steps? Nobody assumes that landlords should be responsible to keep parking lots and walkways clear in the middle of a snow storm. So, what can you, as a tenant, expect from your landlord when it comes to keeping you safe from a slip and fall on the ice during the winter?
The law says that landlords are not liable when a person sustains a slip and fall on the ice or snow that is a natural accumulation. This is called the Hills and Ridges doctrine. It stands for the premise that a landlord is not going to be responsible for a natural accumulation of ice and snow that has not been on the ground long enough to reasonably expect the landlord to clear it. The amount of time varies depending on the circumstances, but if hours and hours have gone by, then that landlord better have cleared a safe path for the tenant. If the landlord cannot keep you safe, why are you paying your rent?
In order to ensure the landlord has upheld their end of the bargain, a tenant should expect that the landlord has taken on the following precautions:
Keep in mind, an apartment is not like a store or a shopping mall. Tenants come and go for work and pleasure anytime they want to, so there are no closing hours. That means that it does not matter if a tenant has a slip and fall on the ice at four in the morning or four in the afternoon. If the landlord should have expected that tenants would be walking in the area where a slip and fall on the ice has happened, then the landlord should have had it cleared and made safe for the tenant to walk. That is the bargain landlords make. Tenants pay rent to call a property a home, and in exchange, landlords must take all reasonable steps to ensure tenants are not exposed to the danger of a slip and fall on the ice.Back To All of our Blog Stories A