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Cement Porch and Steps

I live in a semi-detached home. My neighbor and I share about 13 steps w/iron railing leading to sidewalk. Is it possible to have MY cement steps repaired? I've tried to work w/the owner and he isn't cooperating. I really need my cement steps repaired and porch replaced. The home was built around 1947. I live in Washington, DC. Is this at all possible?:confused:
Thank you, Plynn

Re: Cement Porch and Steps

I don't know about the landlord-tenant acts in D.C. but here that would have to be fixed for saftey reasons.

I would make the request in writing, citing the potential dangers in not repairing the damage. Point out that your renter's insurance won't cover the injury to the tenants or visitors. If you get hurt on this dangerous path and lose your income he won't have any income from your rent either.

Give him 30 days to make the repairs or you say you're going to withhold your rent to make the repairs yourself.

You could also call the local agency that gave the owner his certificate of occupancy and ask for them to reinspect the house.

Lastly, call your local bar association, ask them if there's a reduced fee "day" where you go pay them $20.00 and they send you to a lawyer that works in your area and specializes in the landlord tenant act in your area. He can help you write a letter better than I can.

I used to work for a property management company, I had to memorize our local act in order to keep my job.

Re: Cement Porch and Steps

Thank you debbysewn. My neighbor is the owner of his home and I'm the owner of mine. Our homes are attached and our cement steps are attached. I was just hoping I could have my replaced without defacing his.

Re: Cement Porch and Steps

I'm sorry, I don't know how I read into your message that you were renting.

As far as co repairs, That's tricky. I commend you for not wanting to damage anything on your neighbor's side if they aren't willing to share the expense.

Re: Cement Porch and Steps


You're probably going to have to run this by an attorney who is familiar with real estate law.

You can still do a lot of the research yourself; it would seem as a practical matter, that if you both have to use the same steps, and there is only one entrance, then you are both responsible for the expenses of maintaining upkeep & repair of the stairs.

It's unclear from your post if the steps are divided by a thin dividing wall, or strip, or are one contiguous concrete structure with a railing on each side.

Would it be impossible to repair YOUR side without defacing HIS side??

It's also unclear from your post if there is only one doorway, or 2 separate ones.

If there is only one doorway & it's a contiguous cement stairway, & you have a copy of the deed going back to when you purchased the property, read it closely.

It may specify what happens when the stairs need repair or replacement.

The town hall/city hall usually has addendums and covenants on file to your property deed & to your neighbor's deed concerning your property that specifies who repairs what, especially in a case like this with a stairway that seems to have common access.

This would be known as an easement (right of use) or easement agreement.

At the site below, you can click onto "law forums" & post the question so it can be answered by a legal expert.

You can also Google "property law forums" or "real estate law forums" to obtain more legal forums on the internet.

Sometimes a strong letter from an attorney will be enough to light a fire under the other party to cough up the cash needed to make the repair, but find out what the law says first.

Although it would be much more expensive, if there are separate entrances, it would be a lot better to have 2 separate stairways so this problem doesn't crop up again in the future.

Property disputes involving adjacent owners who share use of a common driveway, or common stairway have always been a major headache---you're still going to have this person next door to you, no matter HOW it's resolved, so don't do anything to exacerbate the situation.


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