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Who is Responsible for Sidewalk Repair?

nyc sidewalk repair

Sidewalks in New York City are always crowded with people. They are a major transportation source for pedestrians, allowing them to safely reach their destination. Exposure to such heavy pedestrian loads causes frequent damage to the sidewalks and maintaining them is a monumental task.  

The Department of Transportation (DOT) in New York is responsible for responsible for overlooking these sidewalks. The city is filled with over 12 million miles of sidewalks. And on average the city replaces almost two million square miles of sidewalks every year, mostly in residential areas. All because of the negligence of the owners.

Damaged sidewalks pose a great risk to pedestrian safety. They can lead to painful trips, falls, slips, and even serious injuries in worst-case scenarios. Therefore, to avoid these scenarios, all you need to do is regularly inspect your sidewalks. You can also hire a reputable sidewalk contractor for the job.

Responsibility for Repairing Sidewalks?

Now let’s discuss who actually is responsible for repairing the sidewalks. Is it the responsibility of the state government or the property owner? The answer can vary depending on the state you live in. Every state in the USA has its own rules for sidewalk repair. Some states take the responsibility of repairing the sidewalks whereas in some states property owners are responsible for this task.

However, talking about New York specifically, the property owners are responsible for repairing and maintaining the sidewalks. The Department of Transportation (DOT) in New York is responsible for assessing the condition of the sidewalks. They have set out a bunch of strict rules and regulations that must be followed by all sidewalks.

Failing to meet these criteria can put property owners at risk of DOT violation notices. If property owners do not take proper action within the required time, these violations can result in fines and legal troubles for them.

Apart from repairing and maintenance, section 19-152 of the New York City administrative code clearly sights that property owners are also responsible for the replacement and installation of new sidewalks. Both, residential and commercial property owners are obliged to follow this law.

Are Tenants Also Responsible for Sidewalks Repair?

The DOT laws mandate that only property owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks. Thereby, exempting tenants from all repair jobs.

However, tenants are also liable for repairs and DOT penalties in certain cases. For instance, if the damaged sidewalk has caused a serious injury or death of a pedestrian, the tenant is also held responsible. In such cases, the tenant is held liable to the owner and should also compensate the owner for the loss that occurred.

Besides, some lease agreements between landlords and tenants make the tenant responsible for the repair. In such cases, the owner may have transferred the repair right to the tenant. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult with a legal professional before finalizing a tenant agreement. 

Defects That Can Result in A Violation Notice

  1. Cracked sidewalk flags that can be removed easily
  2. Sidewalk flags that have a visible void beneath them
  3. Flags having an improper slope that hinders water drainage
  4. Missing or completely absent sidewalk flags
  5. Uneven sidewalk flags having a height difference of more than ½ inch
  6. Sunken or loosened sidewalk flags that move up and down

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