Shoveling Your Sidewalks: It’s the Law

Boulder, CO Snow Removal Company

Here in Boulder County, the deeper we dive into winter, the deeper the snow piles up on your property. 

And while a layer of fresh powder is ideal for building a snowman, snow on your sidewalk and driveway isn’t so fun (or should we say, snow-fun).

Boulder County provides specific guidelines for different types of property owners when it comes to removing snow from public spaces — especially the sidewalks we all use to get from place to place.

Fortunately, with a little knowledge and preparation, you can keep both your pathways clear and follow Boulder County specifications.

Whether you’re a homeowner, landlord, renter, or business owner, here’s the “snowdown” on how to stay in-step with Boulder County snow removal laws.

General Snow Removal Guidelines for All Property Owners

Let’s start with the basics that apply to all private property owners for snow removal:

  • Sidewalks must be cleared of snow and ice within 24 hours after a snowfall stops
  • Snow cannot be pushed onto the street or other public access ways — it must be placed on your property (e.g., the yard).
  • The entire width of the sidewalk (or at least 5 feet) must be made clear.
  • If a property lies on the corner, the sidewalks on both sides of the property must be cleared.
  • Boulder County prefers you wait until after snowplows have done their job on the streets before you remove snow on sidewalks, as the snowplows may need to push snow onto sidewalks (unfortunately leaving you to deal with it).
  • Failure to comply can lead to a misdemeanor charge or a civil liability case if someone is hurt on your property due to snow that hasn’t been removed.

Homeowner Considerations

The biggest consideration for homeowners when it comes to complying with Boulder County’s snow removal regulations is your personal liability if someone gets hurt because of snow and ice on your property.

Boulder County’s regulations should be considered your legal obligation.

If you fail to follow the rules, here’s what the local government can do:

  • $100 fine for first time offense.
  • The County hires a private snow removal company to bring your property up to code — you pay the contractor fee plus a $50 administrative fee.
  • After a first time offense, you could be subject to a $1000 fine and even 90 days in jail.

On the personal side of things, you could be sued for negligence if your failure to comply results in someone getting hurt.

If someone slips on your ice or even if a pile of snow obstructs a driver’s view and inadvertently causes an accident, you could be held liable — in the past, such cases have asked for as much as $300,000 of the liable party.

Landlord Considerations

In Boulder County, the landlord or manager of any type of rental property (residential, commercial, industrial) is typically responsible for all snow removal, and not just on sidewalks — driveways, rooftops, and parking lots have got to be cleared as well.

If you manage a single-family residential rental property, you may be able to include a snow removal agreement in your lease which dictates that the tenant is responsible.

But in all other cases, you’re the responsible party if snow is not removed within the guidelines provided above. Penalties are the same as for private homeowners described above.

Renter Considerations

If you rent a property from its owner in Boulder County, then you’re not responsible for snow removal — unless your lease specifies otherwise.

In many cases, your landlord is likely responsible. But if you rent a single-family residential unit (a standalone or “detached” home), your lease could include a clause indicating that you hold responsibility.

If you’re not certain, check your lease. If the lease doesn’t make things any clearer, ask your landlord (and if possible, get the lease updated to reflect what you and your landlord agree upon).

Business Owner Considerations

If you own a business with a physical location, you are responsible for snow removal if you own the building.

In many cases, business owners rent space from a commercial or industrial zone property owner — in which case, the owner or the property is responsible for snow removal from sidewalks, parking lots, roofs, driveways, and any other places where snow and ice could result in damage to people or property.

Make Snow Removal Easy

Whatever your responsibility for snow removal, we do everything we can to make it easy for you.

Our blog has loads of articles with tips for snow and ice removal — we cover everything from the best snow shovels, how to practice safe shoveling, pet-safe deicers, and how to keep your roof clear all winter long.

But all the tips in the world still won’t make snow and ice magically disappear on their own. The only thing that can do that is a professional snow removal service.

GSC’s Professional Snow Removal has over 30 years experience of keeping Boulder County’s homes, rental properties, and businesses clear of snow and in compliance with local laws.

We take care of the snow and ice so you can focus on enjoying a fresh snow fall, not stressing about it. Learn more about GSC’s snow removal services »