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Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians (from NY Apartment Law Insider)

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Information about Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians (from NY Apartment Law...
Real Estate

Published on February 23, 2014

Author: VendomeRealEstateMedia

Source: slideshare.net

Description

So far this winter, New York City has had two severe snowfalls, with accompanying frigid temperatures, and it appears that this weather pattern is likely to hold through the end of February. As a result, snow and ice are accumulating on the roofs and ledges of buildings throughout the city, and, therefore, when the weather begins to warm, chunks of ice and snow will start falling from those heights to the streets and sidewalks below. Possible injury to persons and property may follow.
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Contributors’ Corner Post from New York Apartment Law Insider: Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians Guest Contributor: Adam Leitman Bailey, Esq. Attorney at Law Email: alb@alblawfirm.com Website: www.alblawfirm.com This article was written with the help of John M. Desiderio, Esq., an attorney with Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians So far this winter, New York City has had two severe snowfalls, with accompanying frigid temperatures, and it appears that this weather pattern is likely to hold through the end of February. As a result, snow and ice are accumulating on the roofs and ledges of buildings throughout the city, and, therefore, when the weather begins to warm, chunks of ice and snow will start falling from those heights to the streets and sidewalks below. Possible injury to persons and property may follow. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians The City Administrative Code requires that owners maintain all buildings and parts of buildings in a safe condition. In addition to this general requirement, the law also imposes a specific duty upon building owners to ensure that pedestrian passersby are not injured from snow or ice accumulations falling from their buildings. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians Owners whose buildings have roofs, ledges, or cornices on which accumulated snow and ice is likely to pose a danger to persons and property below must take reasonable steps to prevent ice from falling to the street. For this purpose, owners can install snow guards which, typically, are not intended to completely hold back the snow, but rather to separate the snow and allow it to break apart in small sections in rising temperatures and thawing conditions. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians For buildings where it is not possible to prevent snow and ice from falling to the street, owners must at least rope off the sidewalk or in some other way warn pedestrians to not walk on the sidewalk adjoining their building until it is safe to do so. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians In those situations where pedestrians are injured by falling snow and ice, the courts look to see whether the building owner had knowledge of the ice and snow condition that caused the injury. Evidence of the building’s history of ice and snow accumulation and of the owner’s actual knowledge of that history is highly relevant, especially if the owner has not taken steps to prevent a dangerous condition from occurring. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians But, even in cases where the owner was not aware of the actual snow and ice condition that caused the injury, courts may hold the owner responsible, if it can be shown that the owner had constructive knowledge of the condition that caused the injury. For example, in one case, the court held that, because the snow and ice had accumulated upon a ledge overhanging the sidewalk for a period of at least eight days, a jury would be permitted to decide whether the owner knew or should have known of the existence of the condition. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians Whether or not building owners have taken reasonable steps to maintain their buildings to prevent snow and ice from falling to the street will generally be determined by the particular facts in each case. What may be considered lawful and reasonable under some circumstances may be found unlawful and unreasonable under other circumstances. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians An owner may be insulated from liability for an injury that occurs while a storm is in progress. However, if it can be shown that the injury occurred because the owner had previously failed to properly maintain the section of the building at which the falling ice and snow had accumulated, the owner will not escape liability to the injured party. For example, if the building’s snow guards were defectively installed or had sections missing at the point from which the snow and ice fell to the street, the owner would still be liable even though the ice fell during the height of the storm. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians Liability for injuries to pedestrians or to neighboring property caused by falling ice and snow will generally lie only against the owner of the building from which the ice fell. A pedestrian’s claim against the owner’s architect (for faulty building design) or against the owner’s snow guard installer (for defective installation or repair) is likely to fail because the pedestrian will have had no contractual relationship with either of them. However, the building owner can claim indemnification against the architect and/or the installer under the terms of their respective contracts. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians Accordingly, building owners should now be taking action to detect the areas of their buildings at which snow and ice has been accumulating and then either (a) ensuring that the necessary protections are in place and secure, or (b) removing the snow and ice before there is any possibility of a dangerous condition arising. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

Don't Let Roof Snow and Ice Fall on Pedestrians Alert building owners who act conscientiously will likely prevent the accidents and injuries that might otherwise be caused by falling snow and ice during this winter season. Those building owners who do not take the necessary precautions to avoid such injuries will wish that they had done so. Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

New York Apartment Law Insider The How-to Resource for Owners, Managers, and Real Estate Professionals www.apartmentlawinsider.com For over 30 years, New York Apartment Law Insider has been the go-to resource on how to best deal with New York agencies that owners and managers regularly come in contact with, including: • the Division of Housing and Community Renewal • the Department of Buildings • the Department of Finance • the Department of Housing Preservation and Development Learn More and Subscribe TODAY! Vendome Real Estate Media | 2014 | All Rights Reserved | www.apartmentlawinsider.com

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