For many homeowners in an HOA community, severely cracked and damaged sidewalks and streets aren’t just a nuisance, they’re a safety hazard. And there can be a lot of confusion and drama surrounding the issue of who should be responsible for fixing up these damaged areas and making them both pretty and functional again.
When it comes to the streets, it’s clear who is responsible for the repairs. Many municipalities, Dallas included, take responsibility for street and alley repairs as these are owned by the city. These repairs are done by the Department of Public Works.
Curbs are part of the streets and as such, the repairs are also the city’s responsibility. However, curb repair or replacement is usually only done where the curb is hazardous or is causing a significant standing water problem.
Although we at Classic would love to give you a straight answer on who is responsible for sidewalks and walkways, the truth is that it’s not this simple. It all comes down to why or how the concrete came to be damaged. And this is where the drama comes into play.
Many homeowners assume that because the sidewalk is public property, it is a public responsibility (aka, the government’s problem). However, the truth is that many cities and municipalities hold the homeowner directly adjacent to the sidewalk responsible for its repairs.
This issue of responsibility for repairs is further complicated in HOA communities if the HOA technically owns the public spaces. Homeowners then think that the Board is responsible for making sure these eye sores are repaired, but the Board might beg to differ.
If the damaged sidewalk is causing or has the potential to cause injuries to community members, of course they want it repaired. But if the homeowner adjacent to the damaged sidewalk is responsible for the damage, they might pursue measures that would make the homeowner financially responsible for the repairs.
Examples of this would be if a homeowner is known for repeatedly driving their vehicle over the sidewalk or has planted a tree on their property where the root system would easily reach the sidewalk. Both of these actions could cause cracks and shifting of the sidewalk, which would in turn cause damage.
These are just a couple of the issues that surround concrete repairs in an HOA community, but another one we should briefly consider is the cost.
Because more municipalities across the country are placing responsibility for sidewalk repairs in homeowners’ hands, homeowners should consider upping their insurance liability coverage. This is especially true of homeowners in older communities where sidewalk cracks and damage are more likely to occur. Regardless of whether or not you are actually responsible for making the repairs, you wouldn’t want to be caught unprepared for a costly lawsuit if someone got hurt right outside your front door due to a faulty sidewalk.
According to HomeAdvisor, it can cost anywhere between $663 and $2,016 to repair a patio, residential walkway or sidewalk. These numbers are not accurate for every location across the country as they will fluctuate depending on the extent of the damage and construction prices in your area.
You should also check with your local Department of Public Works to see what the requirements are and if your city offers a cost/share program to assist with the replacement of sidewalks and driveways. Some places, like the city of Dallas, require a permit to perform sidewalk repairs/replacement, but they will also help to offset some of the costs.