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Scott E. Mollen Scott E. Mollen

Maintenance of Sidewalks—Administrative Code of City of New York Imposes Nondelegable Duty Upon Certain Property Owners To Maintain Sidewalks—NY Court of Appeals Held There is no Exception for Out-of-Possession Landowners—Obligation Applies Notwithstanding Owner’s Transfer of Possession to Lessor or Maintenance Agreement with a Non-Owner

Section 7-210 of the Admin. Code of the City of New York (§7-210) “unambiguously imposes a nondelegable duty on certain real property owners to maintain City sidewalks abutting their land in a reasonably safe condition.” A “subject owner is liable for personal injury claims arising from the owner’s negligent failure to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk….”. The Code does not contain an exception for “out-of-possession landowners.” The New York Court of Appeals (court) held that “the duty applies with full force notwithstanding an owner’s transfer of possession to a lessee or maintenance agreement with a nonowner.” Thus, the defendants were not entitled to summary judgment based “solely on the owners’ out-of-possession status.”

A plaintiff had sued, inter alia, owners of a New York City property for personal injuries arising from an alleged fall on a sidewalk. The plaintiff alleged that ice that had accumulated “due to defendants’ negligent maintenance of the abutting sidewalk owned by the City of New York.”

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