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.  As a result, we now offer sidewalk inspections including a detailed report with photos, for just $50. 

For full details, please keep reading.  

To schedule an inspection, call us at (510) 671-6150.

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 ΒΌ 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.  


The Sidewalk Certification procedure takes 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.  Then, either:

  1.  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).
  2. 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.  

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. 

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 you understand the new ordinance.   Please note that the requirements are still evolving on some issues.  For example, we asked the City 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.