❄ Grab your shovel, snow is headed to NJ

❄ Many have asked if you have to shovel your sidewalk

❄ Here is what the law says you have to do

It has been so long since most of the state has seen any accumulating snow, you might not even know where your snow shovel is.

You better go digging in your garage or shed and find it, because if you don’t have your shovel handy, it could cost you.

Keep reading to find out what you have to do, and what it will cost if you don't do it.

READ MORE: Dan Zarrow's latest take on the coming storm

Is there a state law that requires me to shovel my sidewalk?

No, there is not.

State legislators have never passed a statewide law that requires you to clear the ice and snow from your walkways and sidewalks.

However, most municipalities do have their own rules when it comes to clearing a path.

Canva/Townsquare Media illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media illustration

READ MORE: How to avoid a ridiculous fine when it snows in NJ

What is the general rule about shoveling the sidewalk?

There are 564 municipalities in New Jersey, so to be absolutely sure what the rules are in your town, check your local website or call the municipal clerk.

As a general rule, town do require you to remove the snow from sidewalks on your property within a certain period of time after the snow stop falling.

In some cases, it is in as little as four hours if the snow fell overnight.

Some towns require removal to be done within eight hours after the snow stops falling.

There are also some municipalities that give you 24-hours to clear snow from your property.

In addition to the sidewalk, some towns go as far as to require you to remove the snow on the walkways leading to your entry door.

You may also be required to remove snow from around a fire hydrant that may be on your property.

Canva/Townsquare Media illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media illustration

How wide does the path need to be?

Again, this will vary by town.

Some towns are not specific at all about how wide a path needs to be.

Generally, it should be 2-3 feet on residential properties.

Commercial businesses may have different rules for how big a path must be to enter and exit a business location.

READ MORE: An important winter reminder for all NJ drivers

Is anybody really going to check?

Maybe.  Maybe not.

It really depends on where you live in a particular town.

One local mayor told me they don’t drive through neighborhoods looking for violators and handing out summonses.

However, if a property is on a main thoroughfare or the sidewalk is used by kids walking to the bus stop or to school, they will keep an eye on it.

Most towns give warnings, not a summons.

Canva/Townsquare Media illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media illustration

Could I be fined if I don’t clear snow from the sidewalk?

Technically, yes.

Again, it will vary town-by-town, but the fines are generally less than $100.

A few towns actually impose a surcharge on property owners if municipal crews have to clear snow.

Some cities can also impose fines if you push the snow from your driveway or sidewalk into the road causing a traffic hazard.

The real reason you want to clear away any snow and ice

You could be sued.

If someone slips and falls due to snow and ice accumulation, it is possible they could sue you for damages.

This also includes anywhere on your property.

Canva/Townsquare Media illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media illustration

If a delivery person slips on the ice or snow on the patch leading to your front door, they could also technically file a lawsuit.

Some legal experts suggest these suits are rare, and judges could throw them out for being frivolous, but would you really want to go through that hassle?

In most cases, any injuries suffered should be covered by your homeowners' insurance policy, but you should check with your carrier to be sure.

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