While the UK has not quite reached the levels of the United States when it comes to compensation culture, the practice in Britain is certainly on the increase. Within this realm, there is some concern among property owners that if someone slips over and hurts themselves on their property, the owner may be liable.

So what are the facts? The UK government offers up its ‘snow code’ by way of explanation, which has this to say on the matter:

“Don’t be put off clearing paths because you’re afraid someone will get injured. Remember, people walking on snow and ice have a responsibility to be careful themselves. Follow the advice below to make sure you clear the pathway safely and effectively. Don’t believe the myths – it’s unlikely you’ll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries if you have cleared the path carefully”.

While it does sound as if a property owner won’t get sued, the presence of the word ‘likely’ will no doubt send a shiver down many a property owner’s spine.

The best course of action is to clear your pathways (the ones that you own) as well as you can. Do this by clearing paths early in the day and do not use hot water to melt the ice: this can re-freeze to become perilous black ice. As well as breaking the ice up and clearing with a shovel, use salt and sand too.

These steps, together with public liability insurance should keep you protected; whether you have a buy-to-let, holiday home or unoccupied property insurance policy, check to make sure it includes public liability insurance.