Property owners will now be responsible for the maintenance and repair of public sidewalks in front of their buildings following passage of legislation that transfers liability from the city to the owners of multi-family dwellings.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently signed a pair of bills that were part of a tort reform package aimed at reducing the city's liability to pay for accident claims resulting from defective or improperly maintained sidewalks.
Intro 193, also called the Adjoining Landowner Liability Bill, will hold building owners liable if they fail to comply with their existing duty to repair and maintain the sidewalks in front of their buildings, and also to shovel snow and remove it from the premises in winter. One-, two- and three family dwellings are exempt.
"New York City has 12,750 miles of sidewalks. Laid end-to-end they would stretch halfway around the world. It would cost the city billions of dollars to hire sidewalk repair crews to repair all sidewalk defects and keep the sidewalks perfectly free of defects," says Mayor Bloomberg.
Under current law, says Mayor Bloomberg, property owners had been required to keep sidewalks in good repair and free of snow or ice. However, if they failed to comply with this statutory duty and someone was injured, oftentimes only the city would get sued, he says.