What recourse does a homeowner have regarding a pre-existing condition if the town changes its code?

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What recourse does a homeowner have regarding a pre-existing condition if the town changes its code?

I recently appraised the town by email about a raised sidewalk that is located in the town’s right of way which is uplifting by at least 3″ by one of the town owned trees (also located in the right of way) and is a potential trip hazard. The town has always been, and still currently is, responsible for sidewalk repairs. I requested for status of the their review andan estimated timeframe for when they anticipate doing the repair. They replied that funding has been depleted and are considering several options to solve this issue. What can I do if they change the code but don’t do the repair work?

Asked on October 8, 2010 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the town changes the code to attempt to circumvent its responsibilities to you, it will not be successful.  Any pre-existing damage that requires the town to fix it will still be considered enforceable.  If the town has not repaired this matter, no matter how often you have emailed the town departments, consider contacting the state or county politicians to see if anything can be done to help you in this endeavor.  Otherwise if you have suffered an injury as a result you can certainly sue but may only have a limited amount of time.  If you consider this to be a public nuisance, consider starting a petition to help your cause.


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