Residents must keep sidewalks free of snow, ice

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Residents living off-base in German communities must know the rules regarding snow and ice on sidewalks. Residents should check their rental contracts to find out about their obligations. The rental contract clearly states who must keep sidewalks free of ice and snow.

Usually, house owners turn this obligation over to their renters. As soon as there is a danger of black ice, renters or landlords must throw salt, sand or gravel on walkways. Snow must be swept off so pedestrians can walk.
In some communities, residents aren’t allowed to use salt because it can damage the environment and sidewalk tiles may become lose.

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

House owners or renters don’t have to free the whole sidewalk of ice and snow, but must clear a path so two people can get by. They don’t have to remove snow if it continues snowing, but must remove it 15 to 30 minutes after it stops snowing.

The snow has to be removed in a way that does not impact traffic.

In most communities, sweeping snow and throwing salt, sand or gravel must be done between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on workdays. On weekends, the snow removal obligation starts at 9 a.m. The general rule is: first sweep off the snow, then throw salt, sand or gravel.

In extreme weather, the cleaning procedures must be repeated throughout the day.

If renters are, according to their contract, obliged to take care of cleaning their sidewalks, they must find somebody to do it for them if they won’t be able to because of sickness or work.

If pedestrians get hurt due to sidewalks that were not properly cleaned, houseowners or renters can be held liable. They might have to pay for medical treatment, compensation and sometimes even a fine.

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