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Good news for those who don't shovel snow

Posted by Rona Fischman February 9, 2009 02:37 PM

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If you walk passed Lizís house, watch your step!
For those who donít know Liz, she is the poster-child for people who donít shovel their walks. Followers of Liz can use fear of litigation as a reason to make things harder for their neighbors.

According to some legislators, as the law stands now, if you donít shovel your walk, you are not liable if someone walks through the snow and falls. If you shovel your walk, you are liable if someone slips on a spot that has refrozen. A bill to change this was not signed by its deadline by our governor. Some of you wrote in to say that the legislators misunderstand the current law. Well, apparently, the governor agrees with you.

Weíve talked this one to death. This was just an update.

Now for the broker angle on the snowy winter:

Because we have not had a long enough thaw to melt the snow-cover, I am hearing more debate about what is ďnormal maintenanceĒ in regard to snow shoveling. A seller is responsible to continue normal maintenance of their home until closing. Lawyers can get more specific, but the gist is that if something breaks, fix it; water and mow the grass so it doesnít die. Does it mean shovel the snow?

Homes that were occupied until closing have not been a problem. Empty homes are a problem. I have closed on two this winter. In both cases the sellers thought that doing the walk so that they didnít get a ticket was in order. In both cases, my buyers expected to be able to park their car in the driveway, too, on closing day. Who is being unreasonable? The seller or the buyer?

As of February 3, we have had more snowfall this winter, so far, than all of last winter. Since February and March are usually snowy months, there is more fun coming out of the sky before itís over.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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