Requiring Sidewalk Repairs at the Point of Sale

broken-sidewalkHow does a point-of-sale strategy work?

Before any sale, the city inspects the sidewalk fronting the property. If the inspector finds that damage or displacement of the sidewalk creates an unsafe condition, the owner must pay to fix it before completing the sale.

Los Angeles, California, for example, requires, “New sidewalks and/or driveways must be constructed if required by the superintendent of streets in conjunction with the sale of real property.” Los Angeles ordinance mandates repairs if the vertical displacement of a break is 3/4 of an inch or less, and reconstruction if the vertical displacement exceeds 3/4 of an inch. Pasadena, California, has a similar at-sale sidewalk repair program

Point-of-sale programs like those in Los Angeles and Pasadena have several advantages beyond complying with the ADA.

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First, the city does not require owners to pay or do anything until they sell a property. The sale then provides the cash to pay for required repairs. Sellers fix only the sidewalk fronting their own property, so they can see exactly where their money is going.

Second, sidewalk repairs are gradual but inevitable because about half of all properties are sold at least once every decade. The property turnover rate is similar throughout most cities, so the sidewalks are repaired everywhere in a city at roughly the same rate.

Third, sidewalk repairs can increase a property’s “curb appeal” and thus increase its market value. A property’s value will increase not only because of its own sidewalk repairs but also because of all other nearby repairs.

Everyone can benefit if property owners accept the obligation to repair their own sidewalks before selling their property.

Fourth, the city does not have to raise taxes to pay for sidewalk repairs. The city even saves money because of fewer trip-and-fall lawsuits. Among claims against the city for trip-and-fall incidents on Los Angeles sidewalks between 2001 and 2007, 36 percent of the incidents occurred in front of properties that had been sold within the previous five years.

Los Angeles paid $1.4 million to settle the claims for these incidents, which were preventable unless the sidewalks cracked in the five years between the last property sale and the trip-and-fall incident.

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Finally, sellers include absentee owners and residents who are leaving the city. Their sidewalk repairs will leave the city in better shape for everyone who remains.

At California Foundation Works we try to understand the needs of our customers. When we perform a concrete sidewalk repair project, we place as much emphasis on the concrete removal and demolition as the installation of the new sidewalk. We know how important it is to keep mess and debris to a minimum in order to create a safe environment for pedestrians and your customers near the job site.
Call California Foundation Works with any of your concrete sidewalk repair questions. We are happy to answer them!