Sidewalks typically go unnoticed by homeowners until the one in front of their home breaks. Then comes the question, “Who is responsible for fixing this?” If there is a public sidewalk located on your property, it is important to find the answer to this question ahead of time. It can save you a lot of hassle later. So, who is responsible for sidewalk repairs?
Who is Responsible for a Broken Sidewalk?
The truth is, there is no “one size fits all” answer to this question. Many people assume that the city is responsible for broken sidewalks since the sidewalk is public property. While it is true that sidewalks are considered public property in most cities, many cities deflect the financial responsibility of repairs to the homeowner connected to the sidewalk. It largely depends on how the damage came to be.
For example, if a homeowner performs a lot of landscaping that forces roots underneath the sidewalk, and then the sidewalk cracks, they will likely be responsible for the repair. However, if an intense storm causes potholes or cracks in the sidewalk, the city might pay for it.
As an additional factor to keep in mind, many cities go through the HOA (homeowners’ association) for sidewalk-related repairs. The city names the HOA responsible for repairs, and in turn, the HOA holds homeowners responsible. Laws vary from state to state and city to city, so it is important to research your city specifically.
How Can You Avoid Paying for Sidewalk Repairs?
The best thing you can do to avoid paying for sidewalk damage is to treat the public sidewalk like your driveway. Be very careful not to harm it, and take the following precautions.
Report damage to the city early.
If you wait until the damage becomes a major problem, the city will likely consider you negligent. It is best to be extremely proactive in reporting sidewalk damage to the city, that way no one can accuse you of neglecting the problem. Reporting the damage is also important because if a pedestrian injures themself on the damaged sidewalk, you could become liable for their injury.
Seal the asphalt to prevent damage.
If the sidewalk is asphalt, sealcoat it the same way you would sealcoat your driveway. Sealcoating provides an extra barrier of protection between the asphalt and everything the world has to throw at it. It guards against rain, sun, ice, snow, oils, cleaners, weight, and more.
Make minor repairs if necessary.
It might be annoying to make repairs to a public sidewalk, but in the end, it’s much better to do it early. If you notice a small crack or pothole, fill it in. Otherwise, you might find yourself paying for an entire replacement a year or two down the road.
Have More Questions?
You can count on Walt’s Paving to complete your residential or commercial paving project in an efficient and timely manner. We have over 40 years of experience paving asphalt driveways, making asphalt repairs, and sealcoating asphalt. We are located in Osceola IN and service homeowners and businesses within 50 miles of Elkhart IN. If you have any further questions regarding our services, do not hesitate to call us today.