You’ve seen them all over the city — the approximately 1,400 structures draped in steel-and-wood sidewalk sheds due to the significant safety threat that their crumbling facades present — a serious safety threat. Their structural problems include broken terra cotta and corroded masonry. Not only are they unsightly, in some cases, they are downright deadly.
This is not just a Manhattan problem, although Manhattan certainly has its share. The dangers exist in nearly all boroughs of the city and pose hazards to all in proximity to the blighted buildings. Nearby businesses, including a day care center in the Bronx, are also affected, as it impedes the businesses’ ability to serve their customers.
The New York Times investigated and learned that owners of these buildings often flout rules and ignore enforcement actions without any repercussions. In fact, in the last 10 years, over $31 million in fines for unsafe facades have been ignored by the landlords. The Times noted that some repairs either remain undone or are slow-walked.
The building inspectors for the city are tasked with enforcing the rules and imposing fines. But the strongest tools at their disposal, i.e., orders to vacate, only get applied in the most extreme cases.
What can you do if you wind up injured from falling facades?
If you survive the incident, you can file a lawsuit for premises liability in the civil courts. That can help you recover the certain financial losses you will accrue if you get injured by falling pieces of the building. Holding the negligent owners liable for your injuries, losses and damages can discourage them from delaying repairs to the damaged buildings.