Are You Responsible For Sidewalk Repairs? Know Your Rights!

Are You Responsible For Sidewalk Repairs? Know Your Rights!

By Assemblyman William Colton

BATH BEACH/BENSONHURST/GRAVESEND – The NYC DOT is initiating a Sidewalk Program placing orange arrows on the sidewalks which previously had a Notice of Violation filed. The program then intends to send a notice to the homeowner informing them that unless the homeowner proceeds to file for a permit to have their own contractor remove the violation that the city will have its contractor do the work and bill the homeowner for the cost.

Assemblyman William Colton inspects marked up sidewalk with resident and staff. Via Assemblyman Colton’s office

Sometimes the work will be done in conjunction with other work such as installing a skid-free ramp at the intersection, replacing the sidewalk damaged or uplifted by a city tree, replacing the sidewalk defectively repaired by National Grid when it installed mandated gas cut-off valves, etc.

It is a good thing that the City DOT is getting sidewalk work done, but it is a bad thing if hard-pressed and financially strapped homeowners are being hit for monies to do so. I am concerned not only will DOT be billing homeowners for the repair of sidewalk flags with substantial defects cited under previous Notice of Violations but that the contractor working in conjunction with the City inspector will be slipping in work for which the homeowner was never legally required to pay.

In order to protect homeowners, I am walking throughout the 47 Assembly District, talking with residents and observing the orange arrows marking sidewalks where the NYC DOT intends to replace sidewalks and bill the homeowners. I am strongly advising all homeowners with the orange arrows scribbled on their sidewalks to take photos before the NYC DOT does the work.

NYC law requires homeowners to pay the cost of replacing sidewalk around their property where there are violations. However, for there to be a violation there must be a “substantial defect”, and homeowners in 1 to 3 family houses are not responsible to pay for the work where a sidewalk was lifted or damaged by a city tree. In addition, homeowners are not required to pay for the cost of replacing damaged curbs, any sidewalk damaged by city contractors or their agents, sidewalk adjacent to bus stops damaged by bus operation, or undamaged sidewalk intersections to change skid-free ramps, among others.

To ensure homeowners are not charged for what they are not legally liable, they must take photos before the work is done.

I have been walking the district making note of as many locations where these orange arrows have been placed, so I can mail as many homeowners as possible letters advising them of their rights. I have walked from 20 Avenue to 26 Avenue between 86 Street and Cropsey Avenue; from19 Avenue to 16 Avenue between 86 Street and Shore Parkway; from Kings Highway to Avenue U between West 13 Street to Lake Street, with additional streets in the 70’s and 80’s in the process of being covered by staff and myself.

I urge residents to contact my Community Office at 155 Kings Highway (telephone 718 236 1598) for questions or help regarding this or any other concerns. Thanks to our great staff, my office sees some 5,000 persons a year, offering free assistance on a whole variety of issues and is one of the busiest, if not the busiest, District Office in the state.

I am committed to assisting homeowners to protect their rights. I question whether homeowners should be charged to replace city sidewalk where there are violations as currently provided by city law but it is totally unfair for homeowners to be billed for work which the law does not require them to pay.

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