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Question: “Who’s responsible for a heaved-up, broken sidewalk? I trip and almost break my neck every night when I come home from the bus stop. And I’ve stopped counting the heels I’ve ruined.”

— Shoeless in Kingsbridge Heights

Dear Shoeless,

That’s no way to treat your Jimmy Choos!  But, if you need to know who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk in front of a building, it’s the property owner.

If you find the broken sidewalk that is eating up your shoes isn’t getting any attention in terms of being fixed, you can report the broken sidewalk here. You will need to note whether it’s in front of a 1-3 family home, a larger apartment building, a commercial building or public property.

Once you alert the city to the problem, a Department of Transportation inspector will go out, survey the situation and, if necessary, issue a Notice of Violation to the property owner, who will then have 45 days to fix the problem.

If you are the owner of a 1-3 family house, you can request DOT to do the repair. Costs vary, but the DOT charges from about $18 per square foot to about $28, depending on the depth of the concrete and the location. One big exception: If the damage is caused by tree roots, you may qualify for free repairs by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

And, as for your broken shoes, sorry to say that no one is going to pay to make them right.

David Crook is a veteran journalist and author of The Complete Wall Street Journal Real-Estate Investing and Homeowner’s Guidebooks. Do you have a question about anything real estate-related in NYC? Write him at For verification purposes, please include your name and a phone number; neither will be published. Note: Nothing in this column should be considered professional legal advice. If you have a legal issue, consult an attorney.