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?

5 Comments on Poll: Should homeowners be required to repair sidewalks?

  1. Mike B.

    In my town, there’s a street tree program that doesn’t let me trim or remove trees planted within x number of feet of the roadway, whether planted by the city, me or the previous owners.
    There’s a giant Shamel ash tree on my property, planted 60 years before I bought this house, that has caused extensive damage to the sidewalk, the nearby fire hydrant, my neighbors’ and my own sewer lines. The city declines to pay for damage to our sewer lines, but they so far are taking care of hydrant and sidewalk problems. I will have about $4k in plumbing repairs to take care of all by myself, however.
    I value the tree for its shade and really don’t want to lose it, but if the city goes so far as to make me responsible for damages to their infrastructure in addition to my own, they will have a fight on their hands, and I think everyone in this tree-loving town would agree that it would be going too far. More likely the city will try to take care of it through a property tax assessment. Not sure how likely that would be to pass, but I would approve it if I could pay $200-300 extra annually in taxes rather than $4-5k all at once.

  2. Hoot

    So the City plants trees 50 years ago that have destroyed the sidewalk around our corner lot and we’re responsible for fixing the damage done by those trees? Perhaps this would make sense if we could choose which trees were planted or remove them if we wanted – but the City will not allow us to do so. I would even be willing to go 50 – 50 with the city, but, making us completely responsible for an error made so long ago seems very unfair.

  3. Kathryn

    At least in other parts of the country, cities will go after homeowners for side walk repairs if tree roots have damaged the walks in front of the house. That makes sense, it’s the home owners’ responsibility to maintain their property.

  4. RichW

    Wow Truxter ! I take it you must live in Cuba ? Insofar as the topic at hand, it should be the city’s responsibility. Its kind of silly for them to build it without your explicit permission then push the maintenance expense onto you.


    Don’t believe one optimistic word from any public figure about the economy or humanity in general. They are all part of the problem. Its like a game of Monopoly. In America, the richest 1% now hold 1/2 OF ALL UNITED STATES WEALTH. Unlike ‘lesser’ estimates, this includes all stocks, bonds, cash, and material assets held by America’s richest 1%. Even that filthy pig Oprah acknowledged that it was at about 50% in 2006. Naturally, she put her own ‘humanitarian’ spin on it. Calling attention to her own ‘good will’. WHAT A DISGUSTING HYPOCRITE SLOB. THE RICHEST 1% HAVE LITERALLY MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. Money does not grow on trees. When too much wealth accumulates at the top, the middle class slip further into debt and the lower class further into poverty. A similar rule applies worldwide. But the rich will never let go of their incredible greed. They just keep getting richer and richer and richer. At the same time, they have the nerve to throw back a few tax deductable crumbs and call themselves ‘humanitarians’.. IT CAN’T WORK THIS WAY. THE PROBLEM IS GETTING WORSE. The world’s richest 1% now own over 40% of ALL WORLD WEALTH. This is EVEN AFTER you account for all of this ‘good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS from celebrities and executives. ITS A SHAM. As they get richer and richer, less wealth is left circulating beneath them. This is the single greatest underlying cause for the current US recession. The middle class can no longer afford to sustain their share of the economy. Their wealth has been gradually transfered to the richest 1%. One way or another, we suffer because of their incredible greed. We are talking about TRILLIONS of dollars. Transfered FROM US TO THEM. Over a period of about 27 years. Thats Reaganomics for you. The wealth does not ‘trickle down’ as we were told it would. It just accumulates at the top. Shrinking the middle class and expanding the lower class. But the rich will never stop. They will never settle for a reasonable share of ANYTHING. They will do whatever it takes to get even richer. Leaving even less of the pie for the other 99% of us to share. IT CAN’T WORK THIS WAY.. This is going to end just like a game of Monopoly. A total collapse of the US economy. Probably within a decade. The richest 1% will live like royalty while the rest of us fight over jobs, food, and gasoline. Crime, poverty, and suicide will skyrocket. So don’t fall for all of this PR CRAP from Hollywood, Pro Sports, and Wall Street PIGS. ITS A SHAM. Remember: They are filthy rich EVEN AFTER their tax deductable contributions. Greedy pigs. Now, we are headed for the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time. SEND A “THANK YOU” NOTE TO YOUR FAVORITE MILLIONAIRE. ITS THEIR FAULT. I’m not discounting other factors like China, sub-prime, or gas prices. But all of those factors combined still pale in comparison to that HUGE transfer of wealth to the rich. Anyway, those other factors are all related and further aggrivated because of GREED. If it weren’t for the OBSCENE distribution of wealth within our country, then the middle class would have had a much better bottom line over recent years. There never would have been such a market for sub-prime to begin with. Which by the way, was another trick whipped up by greedy bankers and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. The credit industry has been ENDORSED by people like Oprah, Ellen, Dr Phil, and many other celebrities. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘humanitarian’ BS. ITS A SHAM. NOTHING BUT TAX DEDUCTABLE PR CRAP. Bottom line: The richest 1% will soon tank the largest economy in the world. It will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. and thats just the beginning. Greed will eventually tank every major economy in the world. Causing millions to suffer and die. GREED KILLS. IT WILL BE OUR DOWNFALL. Please copy this entry and run it by any professor of socio-economics. I speak the truth. Please copy and help spread the word. WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE.