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Snow Removal – Landlord’s Responsibilities

In Champaign, city code requires owners of properties with more than 4 units to remove snow and ice from driveways, parking lots and walkways on the property. This must be done within 12 hours of daylight after the snow or ice has fallen or formed. This does NOT apply to the public sidewalks in front of the building.

In campus and downtown districts of Champaign, landlords are also required to shovel the public sidewalks if there has been more than 2 inches of snowfall and they must remove the snow within 48 hours after the public works director announces there have been 2 inches of snowfall.

In Urbana, city code requires owners of apartment buildings to remove snow and ice from every stair, porch and fire escape. For buildings with 4 or more apartments, the owner is also responsible for removing snow and/or ice from all parking areas, walk paths and sidewalks on the site within 24 hours of accumulation of two (2) or more inches of snow and/or ice. This does NOT apply to the public sidewalks in front of the building except in the downtown and University districts. For the purposes of snow removal, the University district is considered to be from Springfield Avenue on the north (both sides of the street) to Florida Avenue on the south if west of Lincoln Avenue as well as the east side of Lincoln Avenue from Springfield Avenue south to Michigan Avenue.

If you have questions about the codes or wish to report a problem with snow or ice removal to the City, for Champaign call Neighborhood Services Department at 217-403-7070 and for Urbana call the Housing Inspector at 217-384-2436. Here is text of the relevant city codes.

Champaign Municipal Code – Article I: General Section 9.5

Sec. 9-5. Removing snow and ice from driveways, parking lots, walkways.
The owner of a building occupied by more than four (4) dwelling units shall remove all snow and ice from the driveways and parking lots of the premises and from the walkways between the public sidewalks, parking lots or driveways and the entrances to the dwelling units within twelve (12) hours of daylight after the snow or ice has fallen or formed thereon.

Sec. 9-5. Removing snow from sidewalks and other areas.
(a) Every owner of a lot in the University District or Downtown District, as both districts are described in (g) below, which lot contains, abuts or fronts on a paved public sidewalk, shall remove and clear away, or cause to be removed and cleared away, snow, after at least two (2) inches of snow has accumulated, and also accumulations of ice, sleet, or freezing rain. After initial clearance, the responsible person shall maintain the sidewalk in a reasonably clear condition.
(b) When snow, ice, or freezing rain is required to be removed, it shall be removed from the full width of the sidewalk, or at least forty-eight (48) inches in area, whichever is less in width, along the entire length of the public sidewalk which is upon, fronts or abuts the property. For owners of property most closely abutting sidewalk ramps, owners shall clear the ramps in the same fashion as the sidewalk.
(c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, snow, ice, sleet, or freezing rain shall be removed as provided in subsection (a) and (b) of this section within forty-eight (48) hours after the public announcement of the Director of Public Works set forth in subsection (f).
(d) In the event snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain on a sidewalk has become so hard that it cannot be reasonably removed without damage to the sidewalk, or is otherwise largely impractical to remove, the person responsible for said removal shall cause enough sand or other abrasive material to be put on the sidewalk to make travel thereon reasonably safe, and shall maintain the sidewalk in such condition until weather permits the owner to comply with subsection (a) and (b) of this section.
(e) The person responsible for removal of accumulations of snow, ice, sleet, or freezing rain from a sidewalk abutting a lot containing a building occupied by more than four dwelling units, shall remove all snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain from the driveways and parking lots of the premises and from the walkways between the public sidewalks, parking lots, or driveways, and entrances to the dwelling units within the same time limit as specified in subsection (c) of this section.
(f) (1) The declaration by the Director of Public Works that accumulations of snow have reached two (2) inches, or that there exists accumulations of ice, sleet, or freezing rain shall be determinative of the amount of accumulation or event causing subsections (a) through (c) to be effective.
     (2) The declaration by the Director of Public Works of the time frame for removal or cleaning of accumulations of snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain shall be determinative of the time for removal set forth in subsection (c). Before making the announcement, the Public Works Director shall be guided by the following standards:
i. The announcement shall be timed to roughly coincide with the substantial cessation of the precipitation event.
ii. The announcement shall be made so that the time frame for beginning removal takes place Monday after 6:00 a.m. through 6:00 a.m. Friday, and not on recognized federal or state holidays.
iii. The announcement shall take into account the progress in snow removal by the City on arterial streets within the areas and be timed to coincide with the substantial completion of such operations in the area affected.
    (3) The Director of Public Works shall take practical steps to notify the City Council, the public, and news media of any such declarations provided for in this subsection. A copy of such declaration or notification shall be filed with the City Clerk.
(g) (1) The geographical areas where snow and ice removal and clearance are required from public sidewalks shall be defined and bounded as follows:
i. University District: Start at University Avenue and First Street, proceed east along the south row line of University Avenue to Wright Street, proceed south on Wright Street (extended) along City limit line (located at the back of east curb) to Windsor Road, proceed west on Windsor Road along the north row line to Neil Street, proceed north along the east row line of Neil Street line to Springfield Avenue, proceed east along the south row line of Springfield Avenue to First Street, proceed north along the east row line of First Street to beginning.
ii. Downtown Business District: That area bounded by Columbia Street on the north, State Street on the west, Springfield Avenue on the south, and Second Street on the east.
    (2) Subsection (e) shall be applicable throughout the City.
(h) No fine shall be imposed for a violation of this ordinance; however
    (1) If the person responsible fails to clear snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain as provided for in this section, such person consents impliedly to the creation of a contract with the City to perform such snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain removal on behalf of such person, consistent with the terms set forth in this subsection.
    (2) After the City clears such accumulation, the person responsible for snow removal under Subsection (a) of this section shall pay to the City, all the costs incurred by the City as the result of such removal including, but not limited to, all costs incurred by the City as administrative costs.
    (3) The responsible person shall pay the City's costs within twenty-eight (28) days after the City sends out a bill to such person. If such person fails to pay the full amount within the twenty-eight-day time period, such person shall additionally pay the costs of collection, including reasonable attorney's fees.
    (4) The person last paying taxes on any property subject to this section is presumed to be responsible for the costs set forth in this subsection.
(i) This section is intended to be penal in nature and is not intended to create a civil duty or right in other parties.
(C.B. No. 78-78, § 19-41, 4-18-78; C.B No. 2007-257, § 1, 10-16-07)


Urbana Property Maintenance Code – Article 3 General Requirements
Section PM 301.0 Exterior Property Areas

PM-301.3 Sidewalks and driveways: All sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking spaces and similar areas shall be kept in a proper state of repair, and maintained free of hazardous conditions. Stairs shall comply with the requirements of Section PM-302.1

PM-302.10.1 Stairs and Porches: Every stair, porch, fire escape, balcony, and all appurtenances attached thereto shall be so constructed as to be safe to use and capable of supporting the anticipated loads and shall be maintained in sound condition and good repair. The treads and risers of every flight of stairs shall be uniform in width and height. Every stair, porch and fire escape shall be maintained free of hazardous conditions such as snow, ice, mud and other debris.

 

The Tenant Union does not provide legal services of any kind. All information provided in this publication is intended to help the average person prevent problems and deal with common concerns of renting. When legal help is needed, always consult with an attorney at law.