Slip and fall accidents are particularly difficult in cold weather. In addition to the average Ohio abundance of snow, it can become even more treacherous as the weather warms up. In this instance, the snow and ice often turns into sleet and then refreezes into black ice.
If you have taken a tumble outside of somebody else’s property due to icy conditions, you may wonder if the landlord has responsibility for your fall. According to FindLaw, generally speaking, the law does not require a property owner to remove ice or snow accumulating outside as a result of weather, with certain exceptions.
Why would the landlord not be liable?
It is not reasonable to expect landlords to be standing outside of their property with snow shovels constantly in hand. Likewise, it is also not reasonable to expect landlords to hire an army of snowplows to wait for the first snowflakes to fall out of the sky.
This is why if you take a fall outside of a property, it is not automatically the landlord’s fault if there was snow or ice present. If the snow or ice had just accumulated, there is no reasonable way to remove it instantly.
When is the landlord liable?
However, if the reason for the ice and snow build-up is because of landlord negligence, you may have a case. An example would be a person falling on ice which had accumulated due to snowmelt dripping off of a roof because of a clogged gutter. The landlord is responsible for the upkeep of the gutters attached to the property. Failure to ensure that the gutters work property is indicative of landlord negligence and may be a premises liability case.