The Legal Website for Knox County Property Owners and Managers
Duty to Remove Snow and Ice
who’s lived in this area for any length of time will tell you that Knoxville
occasionally gets hit with a severe winter storm. Believe it or not, this has happened in recent years as late
as March and even April. When this occurs, what responsibility does an apartment
manager have to keep outside areas free from ice and snow?
Tennessee, a landlord has a duty to take reasonable steps to remove natural
accumulations of ice and snow from common areas within a reasonable amount of
time. Where the precipitation is recent or continuous, this duty to remove has
not been imposed because it’s simply not reasonable to force a landlord to
continuously remove ice and snow in the middle of an ongoing storm. The accumulation of ice and snow is considered one of the
normal hazards of life. Liability
is imposed only when the person in control of the premises allows the snow and
ice to remain beyond a reasonable amount of time.
is “reasonable” usually depends on:
trial, whether or not a landlord has exercised the required degree of care is a
question for the jury. For example,
a tenant broke his hip by falling down some snow and ice-covered stairs at an
apartment complex and sued the owners of the complex. The court found that the owners did not have a duty under
the circumstances to remove the snow and ice from the stairway where the
tenant fell. This was because the accident occurred right in the middle of
approximately twelve hours of falling ice and snow. In another case, there was a severe ice and snowstorm
followed by four days of freezing temperatures and periods of additional snow.
A tenant was injured on the fourth day when she fell on a common walkway.
But here, the landlord was found negligent because he had made no attempt
to remove the four-day accumulation of snow and ice.
a landlord fails to remove an accumulation of snow and ice after a reasonable
length of time has elapsed, he will be liable for any unsafe and dangerous
condition thereby created.
The information contained on this site is intended to educate members of the public generally and is not intended to provide solutions to individual legal problems. Readers are cautioned not to attempt to solve individual problems on the basis of information contained herein and are strongly advised to seek competent legal counsel before relying on information on this site.
This site is maintained by Vowell & Associates, Attorneys at Law, 6718 Albunda Drive, Knoxville TN 37919, Tel. 865-292-0000, Fax 865-292-0002, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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