Much of the country has been dealing with subzero temperatures this winter. That’s made it particularly treacherous to brave the outdoors. However, landlords sometimes leave their tenants to face an unnecessary risk: snow and ice covered walks that are almost impossible to traverse without falling.
In New Jersey, landlords are not required to clear ice and snow from the walks adjacent to any single-family units that they own. However, landlords who have multi-unit properties — whether those are townhouses or apartment complexes — are required to clear the public walkways adjacent to their property.
In addition, if a landlord who doesn’t have a legal duty to clear a property does so, they will be liable for any injuries caused by those actions. In other words, the landlord always has a duty not to make a situation worse.
Does this mean that you’re automatically entitled to compensation for your injuries if you fall on the icy walk around your apartment building? Not exactly. There are a number of things that have to be determined.
One issue that can come into play is the state of the weather at the time you fell. If, for example, it was still actively snowing or sleeting, it’s unlikely that the landlord could be held responsible. It’s virtually impossible to clear the walks while the snow and ice are still coming down.
Another issue that may be relevant is what you did to minimize your risks. If, for example, the landlord cleared a path through the snow around the apartment building but you chose a shorter path through an uncleared area, the landlord might not be at fault.
Are you unsure if you can hold your landlord responsible for your injuries after a fall on an icy sidewalk outside your rental? A consultation with an experienced attorney can help you learn more.