Sidewalk Certification FAQ

Sidewalk repairs must be completed at the time of title transfer or the permitting of a major renovation. This page provides answers to frequently asked questions for property owners, sellers, and buyers.

Sidewalk Certification FAQ

Download the FAQ

NOTICE: In response to concerns expressed by property buyers, sellers, and industry professionals, OakDOT will provide temporary relief from the sidewalk certification requirement in the form of a Provisional Sidewalk Compliance Certificate. The provisional certificate will be valid—in place of a standard Sidewalk Compliance Certificate—for a period of 90 days, starting on July 9, 2019.

The property owner affirms that, before the end of the 90-day period, they will complete the steps necessary to secure a standard sidewalk certification. Failure to comply will result in an OakDOT inspection, and further civil penalties may ensue, up to and including a lien on the subject property.

Property owners interested in a Provisional Sidewalk Compliance Certificate should visit the OakDOT Permit Office at 250 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, 4th Floor; (510) 238-3199.

Effective July 9, 2019: Before a title transfer may be completed, property owners must complete an inspection, and any necessary repairs and upgrades, to bring abutting sidewalks into compliance. (Oakland Municipal Code Chapter 12 Section 12.04.380)

Q. Does this apply to me?

This City Council ordinance applies to property owners who are selling, buying, or renovating [project value > $100,000] property in Oakland. Some exceptions include property transfers during the administration of a decedent’s estate, transfers between co-owners, transfers to trusts, transfers to a spouse or registered domestic partner (including in the event of marriage dissolution or separation), or transfers because of a foreclosure or similar process.

Q. What is the process to certify my sidewalk?

All property owners must apply for a Certificate of Compliance at the OakDOT Permit Office, 250 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, 4th floor; (510) 238-3199; prior to the first close of escrow on the property, or concurrent with the permitting process for a $150,000+ renovation. The compliance process will depend on the condition of your sidewalk [see below].

If your sidewalk requires repair, you will need to hire a licensed contractor permitted by the City to complete the repairs. After repairs are completed, the licensed contractor (or professional engineer or licensed architect) self-certifies that the work has been performed according to code and completes a Certificate of Compliance through the DOT Permit Counter. Note: You do not need to wait for a City inspection to receive your Certificate of Compliance.

If your sidewalk does not require repair, you will need a licensed contractor (or professional engineer or licensed architect) to self-certify that the sidewalk is in compliance and complete a Certificate of Compliance through the DOT Permit Counter. Again, you do not need to wait for a City inspection to receive your Certificate of Compliance.

Q. How do I know if my sidewalk requires repair?

Any crack, depression, or vertical offset of more than ¼ inch is considered a defect, according to the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.

Q. Which documents will I need to certify my sidewalk?

Any documents that support the representation made in your application including the inspection report, a detailed contractor’s invoice, and photographs of the sidewalk (before and after, as appropriate). Supporting documents will be scanned and added to the certification record in OakDOT’s permit database.

Q. How much will it cost to obtain a compliance certificate?

Applicants pay the standard OakDOT Permit Intake Fee + a 14.75% Records and Technology Fee. As of July 19, 2019, the Intake Fee + 14.75% amounted to approximately $80. Sidewalk repair permits carry a separate fee. Consult the Oakland Master Fee Schedule for up-to-date fee details.