Sidewalks are the most essential part of any commercial, residential or landmark construction. These sidewalks not only provide easy convenience for pedestrians but can also make their surroundings look elegant through creative planning and skilled implementation. Although sidewalks are built for public usage, a property owner has to bear all the construction, maintenance and renovation expenses of the sidewalk surrounding his/her property.
Area of the sidewalk.
Property lines, sometimes, extending beyond the building line merge into the surrounding sidewalk. Consequently, making that portion of the sidewalk in front of your business/house a Signiant part of the property that you own or rent. Yet, the activities allowed on the sidewalk might differ depending on whether;
• Your sidewalk is within your property lines or outside.
• The sidewalk remains considered as a public sidewalk.
For proper information regarding the property lines, you can consult the property deed document, or in a land survey certified by a licensed property surveyor.
Here’s a brief sidewalk usage guide by Sidewalk Violation NYC.
1. It should be kept clean at all times.
The first duty of a property owner is to keep the sidewalk in front of its business/house clean and passable. This goes regardless of the rules concerning property lines. In short, if your property has a portion of the sidewalk next to and in front of it, cleaning remains your responsibility. It includes;
• Removal of dirt and debris on a daily basis.
• Snow removal and shoveling and other weather-related cleaning issues.
• Proper disposal of trash, plastic waste, etc.
• Cleansing of the blocked/overflown Gutters.
2. Renovations should be made as necessary.
Since sidewalks remain under constant use, repairing needs are very frequent and common. Whether you have a concrete sidewalk or the one made out of stones/bricks, restoration is necessary. Otherwise, it may cause tripping hazards for pedestrians and thus result in public liability. Therefore, it includes;
• Repairing of general wear and tear i.e. cracks, splitting and gouges on the surface.
• Leveling of the settled sidewalk slab(s).
• Concrete Replacement or Sidewalk reconstruction needs.
All of these renovations are at the personal expense of the property owner. On the other hand, if the repairs are not made appropriately, the DOT has the authority to issue a Sidewalk Violation Notice. These notices don’t contain any penalty/fine, but if the property owner still hasn’t made any repairs in a 75-day period, DOT may hire a contractor on its own and then bill the sidewalk repairing cost to the owner.
3. No illegal obstruction can lie on the Sidewalk.
Any business or home owner cannot place illegal obstructions i.e. decorations, advertising signs, benches, statues, vending machines, etc. on the sidewalk. If necessary, he/she may receive the ‘Revocable Consent’ first from the relevant department and then install the required structure on the sidewalk.
However, keep in mind that, for any repairing, reconstruction or alteration work, receiving sidewalk repair permit NYC for the contractor is necessary.