Winter Worries Protecting People and Property

Homeowners association and co-op/condo buildings have their work cut out for them when winter arrives; residents may slip and fall on icy sidewalks, roofs can leak, and recreational amenities need looking after. Some of these things can be controlled—and some can't, but it's important for every board/management team to keep an eye out for wintertime conditions that can lead to liability and legal problems, and do what they can to remove the risk.

Slick Sidewalks

A board's interest in safeguarding against slips and falls isn't just out of concern for their residents' well-being; if a snowy walkway or icy steps cause a serious injury, a costly lawsuit can be the result.

Ted Wilson of Advanced Pavement Technologies in Fairfield has seen a lot of co-op and condo buildings deal with sidewalk issues. A sidewalk that's cracked or chipped can ultimately be a danger—and lots of cracks and chips worsen in the winter.

"I see it all the time," Wilson says. "Water can build up between the concrete and the Belgian block [underneath]. When it gets cold, that water turns to ice, causing the pavement to expand and heave, and it becomes a liability."


Related Articles

Insuring Winter’s Woes

Dealing with the Problems of Ice Dams

Managing Municipal Reimbursements

Who Pays What, and When?

Clarifying Community Association Liability

Snow Removal on Privately Owned Sidewalks



  • If ice damming is caused by internal issues such as leakage of hot air into the attic, is the homeowner association responsible for fixing each home that has ice damming and can they be sued if they don't and damage occurs?
  • I am suing my association for the $1000 deductible on my policy. They failed to remove an ice dam, it leaked inside, and it took them 26 hours after I called to come and remove the dam.