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It's my property, right? Wait, does the property end before or after the sidewalk? Or in the middle? And if the sidewalk is on my property, do I still need a permit? After all, I heard you can get sued if your sidewalk is a safety hazard, so shouldn't I just fix this ASAP?
Not so fast. Like many construction projects, big and small, you may need a permit to fix your sidewalk.
Whether you need a permit for sidewalk repairs will generally come down to where you live. In fact, local county laws, city laws, and subdivision restrictions may differ on the permitting process.
For instance, Broward County, Florida requires a paving and drainage permit for "construction, modification or maintenance of sidewalks within County right of way including local roads in Unincorporated areas." Meanwhile, the city of Scottsdale, Arizona exempts sidewalks, drives, and patio slabs from its permit requirements.
New York City has specified sidewalk construction permits, and also has an Expedited Sidewalk Repair Program, whereby the Department of Transportation will fix your sidewalk for you. (They'll send you the bill when they're done.)
Unless you're taking advantage of NYC's sidewalk repair program, you'll probably want to hire a contractor to fix your sidewalk. Considering the water, sewer, electrical, and other utility lines that could be running under your sidewalk, you'll probably want an expert to handle the repairs. And, just like a contractor for home remodeling, a paving contractor should be aware of and able to secure the necessary permits for sidewalk repair.
If you're going it alone, make sure you do the research in your jurisdiction so you know whether you need a permit. If you get caught doing the construction without a permit, you could face heavy fines and risk inspectors ripping out your hard work if it's not up to code.
For help with the permit restrictions in your area, of if you've been cited for construction without a permit, you may want to talk to an experienced real estate attorney near you.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.