Stamford law would make homeowners solely liable for sidewalk snow removal

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Marcus Solis has more from Stamford. (WABC)

City officials in Stamford, Connecticut, are warning residents that a potential change in the law could make homeowners and landlords solely responsible -- and liable -- for removing snow and ice from sidewalks.

The new ordinance now proposed would put the liability for any slips and falls from uncleared snow and ice squarely on their shoulders.

Tasks like taking out the trash and shoveling the sidewalk are all too familiar for residents.

"I've always shoveled the sidewalk in front of my house," homeowner Nancy McTigue said. "I don't want anyone to get hurt."

Slip-and-fall injuries are at the heart of the new proposed law. Like in most places, property owners are required to clear snow from sidewalks within 12 hours or risk a fine.

That means homeowners and commercial landlords have always been at risk of being sued, along with the city.

But after a recent court decision, Stamford is looking to pass an ordinance that explicitly states only property owners can be sued and not the city.

After all, snow removal is the owners' legal responsibility.

Joanne Carriero has been a landlord for nearly 40 years and is an owner of both commercial and residential properties. She says the law won't stop victims from trying to sue, especially in serious or fatal accidents.

She and others opposed to the law will have their say at a public hearing next week, but the city is looking to pass the law sooner than later, ideally before the next snowfall.

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