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Poll: Should homeowners be required to repair sidewalks?

Sidewalk2If the L.A. City Council goes forward with a money-saving proposal, homeowners under its jurisdiction will be required to repair broken sidewalks in front of homes upon resale, according to an article in today’s Los Angeles Times.

Requiring home-improvement action upon the sale of a home is not unheard of. City of L.A. homeowners are already required to put in low-flow toilets and gas shut-off valves when they sell, but this latest idea could cost homeowners thousands of dollars.

Here are the numbers:

$15: the cost to the average homeowner per square foot of sidewalk to repair
$9 million: what the city of L.A. spends each year to replace about 50 miles of sidewalks
$3 million: what the city of L.A. spends each year on lawsuits over broken sidewalks
$1.2 billion: what the city needs to replace or repair 4,600 miles of broken sidewalks (6,000 miles of sidewalks in the city considered to be in good shape)

So, this is quite the dilemma. Many of us want to see smaller government and more personal responsibility. But a sidewalk is not something over which you have any control. Can you chop down a tree whose roots will damage the sidewalk? Can you forbid the public to use your sidewalk? What do you think?

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