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Subject: maintenance of sidewalks
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MelissaG2
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:8


08/27/2006 5:31 AM  
We are a townhouse community of 108 homes in Pa. I have looked over our declarations numerous times and can find nothing regarding who is responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalks. We have numerous areas where the sidewalks surrounding the community are in need of repair. Some people believe that the homeowner is responsible for the sidewalks that boarder their property, while others believe the Association is responsible. Can anyone tell me where I might find the answer to this question? Thank you.
CharlesW1
(Georgia)

Posts:826


08/27/2006 6:26 AM  
Melissa,

I’m not a 100% sure. Maybe these questions, I will ask will help others to give you much more advice.
Who owns the sidewalks? Are they public or private? Does the association own them? If the association owns the property in which the sidewalks are built on then essentially the homeowners will be paying for the repairs. I would think that who even owns the property in which they were built on, would be held accountable. Just like if someone were to fall down and break their arm, because of a busted up sidewalk. I would think that the injured person could sue who ever owns the sidewalk. That’s just my opinion though.

I don’t live in a town house community, although I am anxious to hear what other advice you will receive on this particular subject.

Sorry I could be of more help to you

Best of luck

Chuck W.

Charles E. Wafer Jr.
GeraldT1


Posts:0


08/27/2006 8:44 AM  
MelissaG2,

Typically, sidewalks are considered a "common element", and owned by the homeowner's association. Sidewalks in residential neighborhoods outside of your association are common as well. The maintenance and replacement of sidewalks is typically the responsibility of the association. The cost of replacement and replacement of sidewalks is budgeted over time, and comes out of the reserve fund for replacement, and a maintenance account for repair. Therefore, the cost of replacement or repair is divided by all 108 owners.

The HOA governing documents and or Master Deed should explain what the "common elements", and "limited common elements" consist of. If there is no explanation, common sense to me is that the homeowner is not individually responsible for the sidewalks that border their individual property. One of the benefits of living in an HOA is that costs of common and limited element repair and replacement are divisible by all owners.

Best of luck!!
GeraldT1
NNJ
GeraldT1


Posts:0


08/27/2006 8:51 AM  
CharlesW1,

An opinion that the individual unit owner is liable or accountable if an injury occurs on HOA property is incorrect. The sidewalk is typcially common space, unless deeded otherwise. If not deeded otherwise, the HOA is the entity liable if there is an injury as a result of falling on a sidewalk and the occurrence of an injury.

GeraldT1
NNJ
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:4888


08/27/2006 9:21 AM  
Melissa, often the HOA is responsible for the maintenance and replacement of sidewalks. Otherwise, check to make sure your association has included these in their reserve plan.

I live in Lone Tree, CO and the city has accepted the responsibility when the sidewalks are next to a public street and the curb and sidewalk are attached. You may want to try to get your city to accept responsibility for sidewalks.
MelissaG2
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:8


08/27/2006 9:29 AM  
GeraldT1
How about if the damaged sidewalk is due to tree roots from a tree that is on personal property. Would that still be the responsibility of the Association? Thank you.
CharlesW1
(Georgia)

Posts:826


08/27/2006 10:27 AM  
I apologize. I knew what I wanted to say but that’s not what I typed. I said “who ever owns the property would then be responsible for the side walks or personal injury” Being that the sidewalks are generally common property, then as I said “potentially the homeowners would be paying for the repairs"

If the sidewalks are indeed found to be common property then the association would be held responsible? Correct? If you sue the association then you are really suing yourself and your neighbors! If you win the case or even if you loose. The money required will essentially come from the homeowners!

Again I apologize for making that statement in my earlier post. As the saying goes “statement withdrawn”

Is this a true statement, just wondering?
I’m glad you corrected me.

Chuck W.

Charles E. Wafer Jr.
GeraldT1


Posts:0


08/27/2006 10:32 AM  
MelissaG2,

Was the tree installed by the developer and on the master site plan, or did the unit owner install the tree? If the tree was installed by the developer, the association should bear the cost of tree root pruning and sidewalk replacement. If the unit owner installed the tree, does it comply with all ordinances or setbacks for tree installation? If the owner installed the tree, the association should require the tree roots be pruned, or the tree be removed at the owner's expense, and the sidewalk be replaced by the association. 50/50 split and everyone's happy.

GeraldT1
NNJ
CharlesW1
(Georgia)

Posts:826


08/27/2006 11:17 AM  
The HOA would have to repair the sidewalk in the community. So essentially the individual homeowners will be paying for this because all of us pay our dues to the HOA and inturn they use these funds as needed to upkeep the community (ie, landscaping, sidewalk repair, pool maintenance. Does this make sense?

Chuck

Charles E. Wafer Jr.
MelissaG2
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:8


08/27/2006 1:15 PM  
Yes, Charles that does make sense. Two of the BODs believed it would be up to the association the other 2 believed it was up to the homeowner, we just wanted to look into it a little closer before doing anything. By the way, the trees were planted by the developer not the homeowners. Thank you for the replies, everyone here has been very helpful since I started posting questions.
GeraldT1


Posts:0


08/27/2006 2:52 PM  
MelissaG2,

Please post your board's decision, it is an interesting situation that many HOA's could encounter.

Best of success!!
GeraldT1
NNJ
MaureenB
(Minnesota)

Posts:2


08/27/2006 9:03 PM  
More importantly, why is your Board of Directors not ensuring the safety of these sidewalks so none of their residents get hurt? If someone falls and they have failed to maintain them it may cost the Association, which of course consists of all the residents, monies they may not want to pay out.

It doesn't sound as if your Board Members are giving a unanimous straight answer and sounds as if they should have one and most definately should know and have addressed this situation by now.

Write a letter to your Board of Directors asking them to inform you in writing of the situation with regard to these sidewalks, who is responsible for maintaining them and wether or not the Association is insuring them.

MelissaG2
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:8


08/28/2006 5:18 AM  
MaureenB, I am a homeowner as well as the wife of a Board member who has served on the Board for 14 of the 19 years we have lived in this comunity. We have TOTAL lack of involvement by homeowners in the community. My husband would gladly give up his position today if others wanted to get involved. My husband has made a difference and worked very hard for our community. Property values have more the doubled over the past 8 years. The Board can only do so much at a time with no one helping them. We are a self managed community and the Board members are all volunteers with full time jobs.

They have been going down the list of priority items and we are now at the the sidewalk issue. That is why I posted a question about it.

The safty of the comunity is his concern and the Boards concern. The sidewalk issue is what they are working on now. This has nothing to do with the Board not giving anyone a straight answer, they don't know the answer so they have been looking into it. The Board has no problem paying for the repairs. They were just looking for some answers first.

If I sound a little defensive it is because I am. My husband works Very hard for this community and he gets absolutely nothing in return for it. Its a thankless job, but he doesn't give up.

GeraldT1


Posts:0


08/28/2006 9:38 AM  
MelissaG2,

Keep up the good work, it can be a thankless job and I'm sure that there were other priority items that took precedent over the sidewalks. If you get a chance, post the decision of your board. It is an interesting situation given the location of the tree and that it was installed by the developer. Many HOA's could encounter the situation and probably don't have a solution.

Best of success!!
GeraldT1
NNJ
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