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Homeowners Could Be on the Hook For Monster Cracks in City Sidewalks

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Los Angeles has a problem with massive cracks in its sidewalks, after the cash-strapped city just let things go for way too long and federal help dried up. Now the city is considering a plan to make those monster cracks the problem of homeowners.

That means that homeowners could be cited for not fixing cracks and they could be on the hook for trip-and-fall lawsuits, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. That's how it is in many cities in California, and it used to be that way before 1973. The city decided to take responsibility so that residents wouldn't tear out city trees that were causing so many sidewalk problems.

Councilmen Mitch Englander and Paul Koretz said they would oppose any change that would shift liability to homeowners. Homeowner groups said that they will fight back against the proposal to shift more responsibility to them.

Jack Allen of the Palisades Preservation Association told The Daily News that the shift only seems fair if residents are allowed to deal with trees that are causing the problems. "When a gas meter or water meter is torn up, we can't go in and say cut the tree roots," Allen said. "We're out of control here."

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Barry White of the Studio City Residents Association told the paper that this proposal is bad timing, considering that so many homeowners are struggling. "All of us know someone who bought a home for more than it's worth today. With homeowner equity almost wiped out, you can't expect homeowners to pay even more."

Politicians are worried about a backlash from homeowners but they're also frustrated that the city hasn't come up with any solution to its sidewalk problem for six years. Bernard Parks could barely hide his disgust: "We are celebrating our sixth anniversary of motions and all we are doing is asking the same questions. We have spent $100 million to build 500 miles of sidewalk and they are in [worse] shape than ever before."