Who is responsible for sidewalks?

12 Replies

I just got a call from the city where one of my rental properties is located.

They said they would be re-doing "my" sidewalks this summer and would send me the bill for 50% of the work.

Is this common? Why wouldn't property taxes pay for this?

Never heard of such a thing, you own the property, the sidewalk is an easement, the city or HOA usually owns the sidewalk. Sounds like a special assessment then, tell the to fix the driveway apron while they are at it! LOL

Wonder if it has to meet your approval before you pay.... ;)

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@John Horner Yes, this is fairly common. Many cities (at least older, Rust Belt ones) have some sort of cost-share program for public works projects like these, where the direct benefit is likely to be enjoyed by the residents of the building adjacent to whatever's being fixed, so they (or you, as the case may be) have to kick in.

As for why your property taxes don't pay for it, you'd have to look at the tax bill you get in Columbus to see how things are allocated. In Chicago, about 50% goes to the public school system, a little to libraries, some to environmental protection and parks, public safety, etc. Each municipality has a different set of funding priorities.

In my location, sidewalks are required to be maintained by the property owner. Recently the municipality offered a 50% match on a first come, first serve basis to make the community more "walkable". If you chose not take part in the program and they found your sidewalk to be unsafe, you were responsible for 100% of the repair cost.

In my state I've seen this vary by municipality. But there are definitely communities here where the homeowner is assessed the full amount for the sidewalk and even for a share of the street, curb, alley, etc when those are repaired or replaced.

This would be a "special assessment", for those who thought that only some HOA would do that ...

Can happen for lots of different "public improvements" too, especially sewer service.

I have bought sewers! Absolutely. Down here the city pays for sidewalks, they don't pay for the easement as it's already taken by the roadway easement. Developers initially flip the build initially and then agree to deed over to the city as a condition to obtain permits.

All RE is local! :)

50% of how much ? I would contact the city and find out how much you will owe. Why , you may be better off hiring your own contractor . It could be cheaper .

Hello, although it is not the same, I would like to know if I am responsible to fix a sidewalk broken by the roots of a tree that is in HOA territory, in front of my property, between the sidewalk and the curb (got a notice by the city). Thanks!

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