Property Owner Responsibility

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By owning property in Belmont you also accept the responsibilities for some situations rarely found in other cities here on the peninsula. It is also important that property owners understand what and where the right-of-way and easements are. For further details see right-of-way, easements and the Belmont Municipal Code.

Roads & Alleys
Not all the roads within the city are maintained by city crews.  Several of these paved and non paved surfaces are private right-of-ways or right-of-ways accepted by the city but without maintenance. The few alleys that Belmont has are also not maintained by city crews and it is the responsibility of the property owners fronting or abutting to maintain the road surface and trim the vegetation. There are even some non city maintained roads that are paved access easements across several properties. 

There are several of these pathways that we believe were incorporated into the original subdivisions for short cuts. Over time some these paths have been incorporated into adjoining properties without city approval or still used as intended. In either case, no structures can be built within the path and those properties that abut the pathway are responsible for clearing the vegetation to the center of the pathway. 

Sidewalk, Driveway Approach, Curb and Gutter
Not all of the homes in Belmont have sidewalks, a driveway approach or even curb and gutters, no matter what is fronting the property, the property owner is responsible for the maintenance of it. This usually entails the repair of broken or offsets that can constitute a tripping hazard. The installation of curb and gutter where there is none is also the responsibility of the property owner and will be required when installing a parking pad or driveway approach.

City of Belmont has been named a Tree City USA and has a tree cutting ordinance to help owners when it comes to understanding tree removal. All trees within or fronting a portion of land are the responsibility of the property owner, which includes trimming and repair of any damage caused by roots. Trees that overhang any paved section of the road, the lowest limb can be no less then 14' and limbs over sidewalk no less then 7'.

Belmont’s creeks are an asset to the community. They are part of the natural environment, providing habitat for riparian plants and animals. They also have an indispensable role in conveying municipal storm water from the City’s streets, gutters and storm drains to San Francisco Bay. Residents owning property along creeks, it is your responsibility to ensure that the waterways are kept free of debris and vegetation. The creeks are not under the City’s direct control but fall under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Fish and Wildlife, US Corp of Engineers and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.  Any construction work in or along the creek require permits from these agencies. 

Sewer Laterals
Every home has a sewer lateral, which is a pipe that all wastewater from sinks, showers and toilets travels through to enter the city sewer main. The city sewer main can be located in the street, alley or in an easement along the back or side yard of a property. This pipe, from the building foundation to the city main, including the connection to the city main, is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain. Sewer laterals that are cracked, broken or offset will allow ground water and roots to enter the pipe and sewer to leach into the surrounding soil. To learn more about issues caused by damaged sewer lines, see our page on infiltration and inflow. If you are experiencing an issue with your sewer lateral, please call the city at (650) 595-7425 for further assistance and if you do need to make repairs to your lateral, a permit will be required.