Who Is Responsible for Sidewalks in New York City?

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Since the earliest days of its history, the sidewalks were the responsibility of the New York City government, but all that changed in 2003. That’s when a new law took effect that makes real property owners responsible for the sidewalks. Section 19-152 of New York City’s Administrative Code makes property owners responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing sidewalks adjoining their properties. Let’s look at what this means for property owners and people who might be injured due to poorly designed or maintained sidewalks.

Who is responsible for the sidewalks in New York City?

New York City law makes property owners responsible for the sidewalk abutting their properties.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, residential property owners can be exempt if they meet the following criteria:

  • The property is a one, two or three family residence.
  • The property in whole or in part is owner occupied.
  • The property is used exclusively for residential purposes.

When is the City responsible for the sidewalks

The City is responsible for sidewalks abutting City owned property, such as City buildings, City parks and City facilities. The City is also responsible for property where the City has taken possession of the property for reasons such as failure to pay taxes.

What does it mean to be responsible for the sidewalk in New York City?

Be it the property owner or the City, the responsible party must install an adequate sidewalk and maintain it. Maintenance includes repairing sidewalks, including damage caused by trees. Maintenance also means clearing ice and snow.

How much time does a New York City property owner have to clear a sidewalk of ice and snow?

Administrative Code 16-123 gives property owners four hours after a storm ceases within which to clear any dangerous snow or ice condition and until 11:00 a.m. where the storm occurs overnight.

What happens if a property owner fails to maintain the sidewalk?

The New York City of Transportation inspects sidewalks and can issue an order to the property owner to repair a sidewalk. If the owner fails to comply, the Department of Transportation can repair the sidewalk and bill the property owner. You can learn more at the Department of Transportation web page on sidewalk maintenance and repair.

Who is responsible if someone is hurt in a trip and fall or slip and fall on the sidewalk?

If a person is hurt due to the negligent design or maintenance of a sidewalk, the party responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk is also responsible for that person’s injuries. Property owners should make sure that their insurance covers their sidewalk and injuries suffered on the sidewalk.

What should I do if I am hurt on a defective sidewalk in New York City?

If you suffer an injury due to a slip and fall or a trip and fall on a sidewalk, you should first take care of your health. Make sure to note the exact address where you fell and take photographs of the sidewalk, if you can. You should then consult a personal injury attorney who is experienced with defective sidewalk cases. He or she can help you determine if you have the grounds to pursue the property owner for compensation. That consultation should be free.

I hope this information helps. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a slip and fall or trip and fall incident, you may want to consult a New York personal injury attorney experienced with trip and fall cases. If the sidewalk is the responsibility of the City of New York, then look for an attorney with experience with municipal law and cases against the City. We have handled many cases involving sidewalks. We would be glad to answer your questions and assist you. You can call us at 1-800-660-1466 or email us. You can also visit our website or read more on our blog, New York Law Thoughts.

The Schlitt Law Firm
New York Personal Injury Attorney

This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney. Remember, past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in the future.

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