Sidewalk Laws...Who is Responsible?

Old 05-07-07, 12:53 PM
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Sidewalk Laws...Who is Responsible?

Hi! My dad passed away in 1997. I bought my sisters' shares so I could have my dad's house. I've lived here all of my life, but just became the owner a few years ago.
When I was a younger, my dad had me out cutting the root to one of his pine trees on the side of our house, which runs along a street. (It's a corner house.) He knew that one day the root would start breaking up the sidewalk. We never did finish cutting the root so it DID break up the sidewalk pretty bad. The county is having us fix it.
The problem is that we can't afford it. We are a one-income family who doesn't even make it from paycheck to paycheck.
My question is this: I heard that the root started breaking up the sidewalk MANY years before we became the owner, so we shouldn't be responsible.
Does anyone know if this is really a law? Or do you have any idea to make it so we are not responsible?
It's on record that we did not own this house until officially a few years ago so I'm hoping this will account for something.
I would appreciate any help anyone can offer. Thank you very much!
Old 05-07-07, 01:21 PM
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Sidewalk Laws...Who is Responsible?

A tree on your property is cracking your sidewalk and you are wondering who is responsible?

It would have good if you finished the cutting.

Financial repsonsibility (partial or full) may depend on the ownership of the land or easement for the sidewalk and local laws.

In any case, there apparently never was a problem previously.

If the city has a sidewalk replacement program (most do), try to have it repaired under the city contract. The cost will be reasonable, it will meet standards and the city will pay the contractor. You may have to get in line for the next year's program and survey. If you take this route, in exchange for a bill you may have an assesment that is annually added into the home taxes - reasonable financing.
Old 05-07-07, 01:44 PM
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Some cities have a sidewalk repair program where they assist low income families. Some cities will do the repair and bill the homeowner, giving them 30 days to pay or they put a lien on the homeowner's property. In some cities the homeowner has to hire their own contractor.

Broken sidewalks and sections of walks that have dips pose tripping hazards. Sidewalk repair is expensive. It places a hardship on homeowners if it is their responsibility, and it places a hardship on city funds. The responsibility for sidewalk repair is frequently debated when it is the homeowner's responsibility. Perhaps if you talk with the city, you can work something out for financing the repair.

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