State Law Requiring Shoveling of Condo Walkways

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B.B. from Fairfield County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Are condo associations required by Connecticut State law to shovel walkways and other common elements? If so, which state law states it? Thank you!

Mister Condo replies:

B.B., I am aware of no such law. The reality is that condominiums and their common grounds like walkways, parking lots, and even their roads are private property and outside the realm of local and state law with regards to how they maintain their common grounds. This is why you don’t have city trucks plowing your property but, rather, a privately hired contractor who works on behalf of the association. However, most association governing documents require that the association be maintained in good working order for the use of all unit owners. Also, community associations have to answer to insurers when accidents like slips and falls are reported for insurance claims. Not keeping the roads and walkways reasonably clear of snow and ice could nullify the insurance policy and open the association up to quite a liability. For this reason, most associations take removal of snow and ice very seriously.

Ultimately, the removal of the snow and ice is the responsibility of the Board. The Board either hires the snow removal contractor directly or charges the Property Manager with doing so. If the snow removal contractor is performing poorly, they should be fired and a new snow removal contractor hired. If the contract does not specify how often the snow is removed or to what degree of snow removal is required, the contract should be written in such a way as to assure unit owners of properly cleared and maintained walkways in winter. If the Board is unwilling or unable to handle this charge, it is time for some new Board members who will take this issue more seriously. The ultimate power is with folks like you who have to make your concerns known and take action ta make sure those concerns are then addressed. All the best!

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