The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the tenant, 185th Operating, was not liable for a sidewalk ice and snow slip and fall. Although the NYC Administrative Code makes tenants responsible for removing ice and snow from sidewalks, it does not impose tort liability for a failure to do so. Here the lease explicitly stated the tenant is not responsible for clearing ice and snow:
Although the applicable statute requires tenants to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks around their premises, the statute does not impose tort liability for noncompliance (Administrative Code of the City of New York § 16-123[a] …). Furthermore, Administrative Code § 7-210(a), which requires property owners to maintain the sidewalk abutting their property, does not impose liability on 185 Operating, as 185 Operating is a tenant of the premises, not the owner. Not only did 185th Operating’s lease with defendant owner … specifically state that 185th Operating was not responsible for maintaining the sidewalks adjacent to the premises, but [the owner’s] lease with defendant Staples …, a tenant occupying the same building as 185th Operating, expressly made Staples responsible for clearing snow and ice from the sidewalk where the icy condition had occurred.
The record does not present any evidence that 185th Operating’s earlier voluntary snow removal created or exacerbated a hazardous condition that then caused plaintiff’s injury … . Cruz v Heights Broadway, LLC, 2023 NY Slip Op 02612, First Dept 5-16-23
Practice Point: Here the lease specifically stated the defendant tenant was not responsible for removing ice and snow from the sidewalk. The NYC Administrative Code requires tenants to remove ice and snow but does not impose tort liability for the failure to do so. The code also requires owners to remove ice and snow. The tenant’s motion for summary judgment should have been granted.