Property owners must keep the retaining walls on their property in safe condition – and people whose properties are separated by a retaining wall share responsibility for maintaining it (NYC Administrative Code §28-301.1). If you're unsure about your retaining wall's safety or strength, get its condition evaluated and make the necessary repairs.
Retaining walls are permanent, protective structures that separate lower land from higher land. They are barriers that hold back soil, which would otherwise cave in, slump or slide into a lower area. Retaining walls are typically built with stone, brick, cinder blocks or concrete.
Property owners must maintain the retaining walls on their property. The Department of Buildings issues violations to owners for failing to do so and – in the most serious situations – our inspectors can issue violations requiring the immediate repair of unsafe conditions. The costs can add up quickly, since retaining walls often have multiple violations that must be corrected.
There are visible conditions that can reveal serious safety issues. Consult with a New York State licensed professional engineer or registered architect if you see any of the following problems:
If you're concerned about the safety of a retaining wall in your neighborhood, call 311 to register a complaint, which will be forwarded to the Department of Buildings. An inspector will visit the site to determine the wall's condition.