New York City law requires property owners to, at their own cost, install, construct, reconstruct, repave and repair the sidewalk adjacent to their properties, including the intersection quadrant and pedestrian ramps for corner properties, in accordance with DOT specifications. Section 7-210 of the New York City Administrative Code makes property owners potentially liable for personal injuries caused by their failure to maintain reasonably safe sidewalks. Property owners must keep their sidewalks clean and are also responsible for snow removal.
DOT inspects sidewalks throughout the city to ensure that they are safe. DOT inspectors are sent to properties based on specific criteria, including blocks where injuries were reported to the City or where complaints were filed. DOT also takes into account the last time the area was surveyed for sidewalk defects. Violations are issued in every neighborhood in the city.
A sidewalk violation is an official notice issued by DOT stating that your sidewalk is defective. There is no fine associated with a violation. A copy of the notice is filed with the County Clerk and remains on file until the Clerk receives official notification from the City that satisfactory repairs have been made. A violation can complicate selling or refinancing your property.
The City issues sidewalk violations in order to encourage property owners to repair their sidewalks to enhance public safety. Property owners are encouraged to perform repairs to their sidewalks before a condition becomes a defect which would give rise to a violation. Upon failure of a property owner to remedy the sidewalk defect cited in a violation issued by DOT after an inspection, DOT may perform the work or hire a contractor to perform the work and the Department of Finance will bill the property owner pursuant to Section 19-152 of the New York Administrative Code.
If you do not perform repairs within 45 days, DOT may perform the work or hire a contractor to perform the work and the Department of Finance will bill the property owner. Learn about repairing your sidewalk
If you received multiple notices of violation, the newest one supersedes all previous notices.
Sidewalk defects that can be cited with violations are listed in section 19-152 of the New York City Administrative Code. Some of the common defects that could result in a violation:
Problems Caused by Tree Roots
If your sidewalk problems are caused by tree roots, your property may be eligible for repair by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) under their Tree and Sidewalks program.
DPR also offers free consultations for property owners doing work around tree roots. Note that cutting or shaving the roots of City-owned trees is strictly prohibited
DOT does not charge property owners for repairs to tree-damaged sections of sidewalk.
Missing or Defective Curbs
Property owners are encouraged to repair or replace missing or defective curbs. DOT may repair or replace missing and defective curb at no cost to you.
Problems Caused by Others
If your sidewalk was damaged by a utility company or other contractor, document the damage and try to get the company who did the damage to fix it. If you don't know who did the damage, you can search the permits DOT issued in your area. Claims against utility companies (ConEdison, KeySpan, etc.) should be filed with their respective claims departments. Search DOT street works permits
Contesting a Violation
Violations may occasionally be issued to an incorrect property. Match the preliminary inspection report with your property. Check the width and other dimensions of the property. Check the locations trees, signs, utility caps, cellar doors or other features. If it still appears that it is not your property, visit 311 Online and request a Sidewalk Violation Search.
Requesting a Re-Inspection
If you look at your property and don't find the marked defects, you may request a re-inspection within 45 days of receiving your Notice of Violation. For a re-inspection, visit 311 Online and request a Sidewalk Violation Re-inspection.
A re-inspection is a second inspection of the sidewalk by a different inspector who does not have access to the report made by the first inspector. You will be notified by mail at least five days before the re-inspection date. Inspectors will not come to your door as they are prohibited from seeking out property owners when conducting re-inspections. This is your final inspection. The results of the re-inspection will be mailed to you.