Iowa Law: Walking in a Winter Wonderland of Shoveled Sidewalks

Looking out my window at today's snow accumulation, I am unfortunately reminded of my legal duty to shovel my sidewalk when I get home.  According to Iowa Code Section 364.12(2)(b):

The abutting property owner is responsible for the removal of the natural accumulations of snow and ice from the sidewalks within a reasonable amount of time and may be liable for damages caused by the failure of the abutting property owner to use reasonable care in the removal of the snow or ice.


A "reasonable amount of time" means:

  • Des Moines:  within 48 hours following the end of the snowfall. Property owners who do not comply are subject to a civil citation.
  • West Des Moines:  after the 24 Hr period after the storm ends, complaint calls will be routed to the Police Department for complaint follow-up and code enforcement.
  • Urbandale: after twenty-four (24) hours or more, 12 hours to shovel following complaint, then subject to criminal prosecution.
  • Clive: twenty-four (24) hours after a snowfall or the deposit or formation of ice.

If your City is not included in my list above, suffice it to say, you should still shovel your walk tonight.

Photo on Flickr by Marko K

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
dee - January 20, 2009 2:49 PM

if there is lots of ice in a parking lot and a person falls who would be responsible?

Ben Clark - January 20, 2009 5:41 PM

Thanks for the question, Dee. I posted a new blog entry that hopefully gives you some answers.

Thanks for reading!

Ben Clark

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