Snow Shoveling Laws: When Is Your Deadline?

If you don't clear your sidewalk in D.C. or some other local jurisdictions... it could cost you.

After more than 2 inches of snow fell in D.C., District officials will enforce the law that fines property owners who fail to remove snow and ice, a Department of Public Works spokeswoman said.

"We will be enforcing 24 hours after the end of the storm," Zy Richardson said.

A law signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser in June 2015 makes not shoveling at a residential property "within 24 hours after the snow or other precipitation has ceased to fall" punishable with a $25 fine. At a commercial property, the fine is $150.

Property owners can delegate shoveling responsibilities to tenants, but the owners still are on the hook for any tickets. Go here to read the full law.

Anyone unable to clear snow and ice can apply for an exemption from the city. 

The DC Commission on National and Community Service is seeking volunteers who will shovel for their neighbors. Go here to sign up to help.


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Read on for the shoveling laws in other areas.


Montgomery County: Residents and businesses must clear sidewalks around their property within 24 hours after a snowstorm ends.

  • Barnesville, Brookville, Chevy Chase Section 5, the village of Chevy Chase and Poolesville follow these rules, as do unincorporated areas such as Silver Spring.

Other city rules are listed below and on the Montgomery County website:

  • Takoma Park: Residents must clear sidewalks before 7 p.m. on the day of snowfall or four daylight hours after nighttime snow (whichever is later).
  • Rockville: Residents and business owners have between 24 and 72 hours to shovel their sidewalks. The more snow on the ground, the longer you'll have to shovel. (For up to 3 inches of snow, you must shovel within 24 hours; from 3 to 9 inches, you have 48 hours; for 10 inches or more, you have 72 hours).
  • Gaithersburg: Residents and business owners have 12 hours to shovel after snow stops falling.

Prince George's County: Residents must have their sidewalks cleared by 48 hours after snowfall. After a warning period, county inspectors can issue a $100 fine for sidewalks that have not been shoveled, according to the county's website.

City of Frederick: The city of Frederick requires residents to shovel their sidewalks 12 hours after the end of snow, according to the city's website.


City of Alexandria: Residents have between 24 and 72 hours to shovel, depending on the storm response level, which you can check online here. At Level 1, you have 24 hours to shovel; at Level 2, you have 48 hours; at Level 3, you have 72 hours.

Arlington County: Shovel within 24 hours of snow accumulation of fewer than six inches. Snowfall of more than six inches must be cleared within 36 hours. The shoveling deadline will be posted on the Arlington website, along with tips for residents who are physically unable to shovel.

Fairfax County and the city of Fairfax: Residents are encouraged but not legally obligated to shovel their sidewalks. See more on the county website here and the city website here.

City of Falls Church: Residents have 12 hours after snow to shovel their sidewalks, or risk a fine. If snow falls overnight, residents have 12 hours after sunrise to remove it.

City of Manassas: Residents have 12 hours after snow to shovel their sidewalks. If snow fell overnight, residents have until 5 p.m. the following day, according to the city's website.

Loudoun County: Generally, property owners in Loudoun County have six hours, or until noon the day after a nighttime snowfall, to clear sidewalks. The exception is on Sundays, when they have until noon Monday.

Prince William County: Residents are encouraged but not legally required to shovel their sidewalks, according to the county's website.

To stay safe while you shovel, scoop small amounts of snow at a time, push snow instead of lifting it and lift with your legs, not your back.

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