On July 9, 2019, the City of Oakland published a new ordinance requiring sidewalk inspections and the repair/replacement of damaged sidewalks before the sale of residential properties in Oakland. Due to some confusion, the city has provided a “semi-reprieve” until till October 7, 2019 (as noted below), but most of the ordinance is effective immediately.
Here are highlights of the Ordinance:
Any residential property (including Condo’s and Town Homes) must have their sidewalks inspected by a “B licensed contractor” to certify that the sidewalk in front of the structure, including the driveway from the sidewalk to the street, meets the following ADA standard: “There is not any crack, depression, or vertical offset of more than ¼ inch.” Anything greater than 1/4 inch is considered a defect per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.
Starting October 7, 2019, if the sidewalk requires repairs to meet the guidelines, the repairs must be completed prior to the close of escrow. Before October 7, 2019, the city’s “semi-reprieve” allows escrows to close, but the repairs must still be completed by October 7th, 2019, or the City of Oakland will take action.
On August 15, 2019, GT Inspects Inc. started offering sidewalk inspections as an “add-on” option to our termite inspection services. Performed in conjunction with Gen-Tech Construction, the fee for the sidewalk inspection option is $25.00 (in addition to the termite inspection fee). The sidewalk inspection can be booked online and easily added as you book a termite inspection.
SIDEWALK CERTIFICATION PROCEDURE
The Sidewalk Certification procedure will take one of two paths. Either the sidewalk is “good” — it has no problems and passes the requirements — or the sidewalk is “bad” and the sidewalk needs repairs in order to comply with the ADA standard.
In either case, an inspector (“B-licensed contractor”) is first hired to inspect the sidewalk and issue a report. Fees quoted by other companies are between $75.00 and $150.00 for the inspection. Our inspection fee is only $25.00 when performed in conjunction with a termite inspection, and includes a detailed report with photos. Then, either:
- The inspection documents that the sidewalk is “Good” (in compliance)
The initial inspection report with photos, a copy of the invoice and a completed “Certification Form” has to be filed with the Oakland Public Works Department. A certification fee of $80.33 will be charged by the City of Oakland and a Sidewalk Certificate will be provided that is valid for 5 years from the date of the certification. If you wish, we can file the inspection report for you and obtain the city’s sidewalk certification for an additional fee of $95.00 (plus the city’s certification fee of $80.33).
- The inspection documents that the sidewalk is “Bad” (not in compliance)
In this case, we will include a repair estimate along with the initial inspection report and photos. The owner can then hire us or another contractor to perform the repairs. Effective October 7, 2019, the repairs and final certification form verifying that the sidewalk is “good” must be filed with the City of Oakland prior to the close of escrow. Before October 7, 2019, the “semi-reprieve” allows escrows to close, but the repairs must still be completed by October 7th, 2019 or the city will take action.
Please note that a permit must be obtained from the City of Oakland Public Works Department to perform any repairs. Only a B-Licensed General Contractor, an A Licensed Contractor or a C-8 Contractor with an Oakland business license can obtain the permit.
For repairs under 25 square feet, the city permit is free. (You must still apply and obtain the permit.)
For repairs over 25 square feet, the city permit fee is a flat $475.00. Until September 30, 2019, the fee is being waived by the City of Oakland to encourage Oakland property owners to repair damaged sidewalks.
After completion of the sidewalk repair, the inspector or the contractor must take to the Public Works Department the permit, the original inspection report and additional photos on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper documenting that the work has been completed and the sidewalk is now in compliance with the Oakland ordinance. The final Certification form can then be completed and filed with the city. A certification fee of $80.33 will charged by the city and the certificate will be valid for 5 years.
The City of Oakland Public Works Department is located at:
250 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 4th Floor, Suite 4314
Oakland CA 94612
Here is a link to the City of Oakland sidewalk fact sheet:
Here is the link to City of Oakland Sidewalk permit application, and frequently asked questions.
We hope this helps to clarify any confusion you may have. The city and the requirements are still evolving on some issues. For example, we asked about Condo’s and Townhouses and got three different answers, but finally a supervisor said condo’s and townhouses are included in the ordinance, and if a unit is being sold the entire frontage of the building containing the unit must be inspected.
We also learned from the Department of Public Works that the cities of Berkeley and Richmond will soon be enacting sidewalk ordinances. It appears they will be similar to the sewer ordnance that most cities now require for the sale of a property.
GT Inspects, Inc.
Ph (510) 530-0687 • Fax (510) 743-4259