During winter weather months, students who live off-campus must check with their landlords to see if they are responsible for clearing off the sidewalks outside of their homes. Credit: Cori Wade | Assistant Photo Editor

During winter weather, Ohio State takes the initiative to clear off its roads and sidewalks, but for students who live off campus, the responsibility falls elsewhere.

When it comes to off-campus sidewalks, the student’s lease determines whether they or the landlord takes care of it, Cole Weidman, director of the Undergraduate Student Government’s Health and Safety Committee, said in an email.

“In terms of off-campus sidewalks, there are mixed responsibilities; the city of Columbus requires property owners to clear abutting sidewalks but many rental companies put the responsibility on the tenants through leasing requirements,” Weidman said. 

Different off-campus companies vary in winter-weather procedure. 

Katie Harrington, a leasing agent from Hometeam Properties, said tenants who live in off-campus housing are responsible for their own winter-weather maintenance, but when it comes to apartment complexes, Hometeam will handle it depending on the location and layout of the building. 

A representative from Harrison Apartments said the building has a maintenance person who shovels the sidewalks, and if there is a big storm, a third party will occasionally come in and help. 

A Northsteppe Realty representative said the company puts forth its best efforts to clear and salt the sidewalks, but it is possible it may not get to all of them. Northsteppe prioritizes its multiunits first and then works its way to single-family homes. 

A representative from Eventide Inc. said the rental agency prioritizes cleaning the walkway that leads from the house to the street, but will clean city sidewalks if it has time. 

The Ohio State Transportation and Traffic Management website states that when it starts to snow and ice forms, Facilities Operations and Development are dispatched to plow and salt campus sidewalks and roadways. Team members will stay on campus as long as needed, and CampusParc crews are also dispatched. 

“They remain on campus throughout the day and night treating and plowing as needed,” the website states. “CampusParc crews will also be on campus treating parking lots and garages, with garage rooftops remaining open, when possible.”

According to the website, there are 130 miles of campus sidewalks and 40 miles of campus roads that can take nearly six hours to clear, but temperature, amount of snow, wind, time of day, day of week and campus events all influence clear time.