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Are you responsible for repairing the sidewalk in NYC?

The Administrative Code of the City of New York § 7-210 imposes a nondelegable duty on the owners of commercial property to repair and maintain the sidewalk to their property. However, in certain cases, if there is an injury or death due to the sidewalk being in disrepair, a residential tenant at the property could be held liable to the owner and must indemnify the owner of the property for any damage resulting from that injury. It depends upon how the lease reads. Therefore, a “standard lease” must be carefully reviewed to determine if that liability is knowingly being assumed by the tenant. The tenant must understand whether he or she is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk because assuming it’s not the tenant’s responsibility may result in finding out the hard way that they are liable.

Only when the adjoining property to the sidewalk consists of one, two, or three-family residential real property that is in whole or in part owner-occupied and used for residential purposes, is the City of New York responsible for maintaining the sidewalks and responsible to the injured party and not the owner.

Similarly, there are several issues that arise in a commercial lease with a commercial tenant. It is in the best interest of the lessee (tenant) to have the lease reviewed by an attorney to avoid such pitfalls. Often, a small business owner is cash strapped and trying to avoid any legal bills at the start of their operation. However, in such matters, an ounce of precaution is worth every penny and could probably save you thousands from liability and/or litigation costs. Please call us at (516) 570-4016 to discuss your matter.