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Property owners are responsible for maintaining, repairing, and installing sidewalks next to their property.

As the property owner, you can get a violation for sidewalk defects including:

  • Uneven flags where the vertical difference between two flags is more than 1/2 inch
  • Loose flags that move up and down
  • Undermined flags below which there is a visible void
  • Cracked flags that can be readily removed
  • Hardware that isn't flush within 1/2 inch of the sidewalk surface
  • Improper slope preventing flags from draining towards the curb
  • Missing flags or a sidewalk that was never built

The Department of Transportation (DOT) develops these standards by inspecting sidewalks where injuries were reported. Holes as small as 1 inch in diameter or vertical differences between sidewalk squares or flags of as little as 1/2 inch can cause injuries.

Repairs by Property Owners

If you agree with the Notice of Violation, you should get a sidewalk construction permit and sidewalk contractor licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). Any contractor performing sidewalk repair costing more than $200 must be licensed by DCA to operate legally in New York City. You can use DCA's Instant License Check to determine if a sidewalk contractor is licensed.

Use Instant License Check.

You can get more information about sidewalk repair and maintenance, including tips for hiring a contractor, from the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Learn about sidewalk repair.

The Sidewalk Guide for Property Owners answers to the most frequently asked questions about sidewalk violations, permits, and repairs.

Call 311 to request a paper copy.

Repairs by the City

The City does not accept requests to repair your sidewalk. If you choose not to repair the sidewalk, the City MAY hire private construction firms to make the repairs and bill you for the cost. The City contractor may be assigned to 1-2-3 family, owner occupied properties. To calculate the estimated cost for this repair work, multiply the estimated square feet shown on the Preliminary Report by the cost per square foot shown on the letter that came with the Notice of Violation. If any portion of the area to be repaired is a driveway, use the 7-inch concrete cost for that area, otherwise, use the cost of 4-inch concrete. This is just an estimate. The final bill may reflect additional repairs required to bring the sidewalk to standard. The price per square foot will vary by contract.

If a DOT inspector finds that the City did not repave the sidewalk correctly, the City will repave the sidewalk at no additional cost to the property owner. The violation will be removed once the City makes the additional repairs.

Winter Weather and Repair Work

If a violation is received during the winter, cold weather will most likely prevent work from being done.

DOT contractors will not do the work until at least early April. DOT will try to be accommodating during the month of April to those property owners who have taken out permits but have not been able to complete the work due to the weather.

Repairs by Property Owners

What Happens Next

If the repairs were done by a licensed contractor, a DOT inspector will make sure the work was done correctly. The violation will be removed once the inspection confirms that repairs were completed.

Repairs by the City

What Happens Next

A DOT inspector will make sure the work was done correctly. The violation will be removed once the inspection confirms that repairs were completed.

The City will no longer issue violations or impose liens on 1-, 2-, and 3-family properties that have sidewalk damage caused only by City trees.

By the end of 2020, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will review existing notices of violation to determine which were caused only by City street trees and cancel the lien for any that meet the criteria.

If you are a property owner who is selling or refinancing your home, the City will expedite this re-evaluation. You must provide proof that the property is in contract to be sold or refinanced.

You can request a removal online or by mail.

You must include:

  • Your name
  • Property address
  • Description of whether you are selling or refinancing your property

Online

Request to remove a lien due to City tree damage.

By Mail

Mail your request to:

Department of Transportation Commissioner
55 Water Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10041

If the defects marked on the violation don't exist on your sidewalk, you can appeal the violation. Make your request within 75 days of the original inspection date. The 75 days begins when property owner receives it as indicated on the certified mail receipt.

When the violation notice isn't delivered, the violation will be posted on the property as required by law. The posting date is the start of the 75 days.

What Happens Next

DOT will review your request and schedule a reinspection within 75 days after you make the request.

The new inspection will be conducted by a different inspector, who doesn't have access to the Preliminary Inspection Report that led to the violation. If the first inspection found a defect to be hazardous, a reinspection is likely to produce similar results. The results of the second inspection are considered final and will be mailed to you.

Violation Issued to Wrong Owner

Sidewalk violations may occasionally be issued in error because the Department of Transportation uses Department of Finance records to determine property ownership, and this information may be outdated.

To update ownership records, mail a request to:

The Department of Finance
Correspondence Unit
66 John Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10038

You can get information about whether a property has an existing sidewalk violation or lien on file. An existing violation or lien may prevent the sale or refinancing of the property.

The Expedited Sidewalk Repair Program is offered to eligible property owners. Through the program, property owners with sidewalk violations can request that the City repair their sidewalks and remove the violations. The City will repair an eligible sidewalk within 90 days of processing the request and then bill the property owner for the cost of the work.

Eligible Properties

The Expedited Sidewalk Repair Program is available in all five boroughs.

The program does not include:

  • Properties in Community Boards with an active sidewalk contract
  • Areas where capital reconstruction is scheduled
  • Locations on vaulted property
  • Sidewalks with distinctive treatments, such as cobblestone and bluestone
  • Commercial properties and properties with four or more residential units

Sidewalk Repair Payment

Under the Expedited Sidewalk Repair Program, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will bill the property owner for the total cost of the repair for only the sidewalk regardless of what caused the damage. This includes sidewalk flags identified on the Preliminary Inspection Report (PIR) as non-assessable, such as sidewalk damage caused by tree roots.

An installment payment plan is available to eligible owners of certain residential properties who have been billed by DOT for sidewalk repair charges. To learn more, go to the Sidewalk Repair Payment Plan page.

Violation Removal

Under the Expedited Sidewalk Repair Program, DOT will handle the removal of the sidewalk violation. No further inspection is required.

Application

You can request a brochure and application for the Expedited Sidewalk Repair Program in your borough.

Call 311 to request a paper copy.

As the property owner, you are responsible for building or repairing the sidewalks next to your property and maintaining them in a reasonably safe condition. Regardless of what or who caused the damage, you will be liable for any violations and fines accrued by the damaged sidewalks. If the sidewalk was broken by someone or something else:

  • Document the damage and source of the damage.
  • If you do not know the source of the damage, the borough's Permit Office can do a search of construction permits issued on the property for a small fee. The Permit Office's telephone number is on the back of the Notice of Violation.
  • Repair and restore the broken sidewalk flags to avoid future violations.
  • Retain receipts documenting the cost of the repair and restoration.
  • Seek repayment of the repair costs from the responsible party. 
  • If the damage was done by a City worker or contractor working for the City, you may file a claim against the City. To learn more, go to the City Claim page.
  • If the damage was done by a utility or private contractor, you should seek repayment from them.