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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 worse death due to the sidewalk being in disrepair, a tenant at the property could be held liable to the owner, to 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 or unfortunately the tenant could find out the hard way. Is the tenant maintaining the sidewalk or is he assuming it’s not his responsibility? 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, then the City of New York is responsible for maintaining the sidewalks and responsible to the injured party and not the owner.

Likewise there are several issues that arise in a commercial lease; 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.