CACI 1007 Sidewalk Abutting Property

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

1007 Sidewalk Abutting Property

[An owner of/A lessee of/An occupier of/One who controls] property must avoid creating an unsafe condition on the surrounding public streets or sidewalks.

Sources and Authority

Generally, absent statutory authority to the contrary, a landowner is under no duty to maintain in a safe condition a public street or sidewalk abutting his property (Sexton v. Brooks (1952) 39 Cal.2d 153, 157 [245 P.2d 496]). However, “[a]n abutting owner has always had a duty to refrain from affirmative conduct which would render the sidewalk dangerous to the public.” (Selger v. Steven Brothers, Inc. (1990) 222 Cal.App.3d 1585, 1592 [272 Cal.Rptr. 544], internal citations omitted.)

The occupier must maintain his or her land in a manner so as not to injure the users of an abutting street or sidewalk. (Swanberg v. O’Mectin (1984) 157 Cal.App.3d 325, 330 [203 Cal.Rptr. 701]; Lompoc Unified School Dist. v. Superior Court (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 1688, 1693 [26 Cal.Rptr.2d 122].)

“An ordinance requiring the abutting landowner to maintain the sidewalk would be construed to create a duty of care to third persons only if the ordinance clearly and unambiguously so provided.” (Selger, supra, 222 Cal.App.3d at p. 1590, internal citations omitted.)

“Persons who maintain walkways—whether public or private—are not required to maintain them in absolutely perfect condition. ‘The duty of care imposed on a property owner, even one with actual notice, does not require the repair of minor defects.’ The rule is no less applicable in a privately owned townhome development. Moreover, what constitutes a minor defect may be a question of law.” (Cadam v. Somerset Gardens Townhouse HOA (2011) 200 Cal.App.4th 383, 388–389 [132 Cal.Rptr.3d 617], internal citations omitted.)

Secondary Sources

6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 1231–1234
Friedman et al., California Practice Guide: Landlord-Tenant, Ch. 6-A, Liability For Defective Conditions On Premises, ¶ 6:1 et seq. (The Rutter Group)
Friedman et al., California Practice Guide: Landlord-Tenant, Ch. 6-B, Landlord Liability For Injuries From Acts Of Others, ¶ 6:48 et seq. (The Rutter Group)
1 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 15, General Premises Liability, § 15.03[4] (Matthew Bender)
11 California Real Estate Law and Practice, Ch. 381, Tort Liability of Property Owners, § 381.03 (Matthew Bender)
17 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 178, Premises Liability, § 178.29 (Matthew Bender)