In no way it’s acceptable. Yet it happens after heavy rainfall and we can’t decide what to do except being ‘engaged’ with neighbors. It’s horrible!
I was infuriated seeing my neighbor diverting water onto my property and I was worried about my lawn. So, I studied my available options a lot and fixed the issue.
I will share those options with you as well in case you are dealing with the same experience. Stay with me for a while.
Water Coming From Neighbors Property: Think Before Act
Sometimes, your neighbor can contribute to damaging your property through their actions and inactions. In essence, your adjoining neighbor could adjust their yard in such a way that water starts to flow onto your property.
Or, their water sprinkler could suddenly become faulty that it sends water into your yard, damaging your property in the process.
Of course, they might not engage in this act deliberately. It could be a genuine oversight.
But that doesn’t stop the damages to your property from occurring. Slowly but surely, your property might start to suffer from things like collapsing walls, soggy garden, mold could begin to develop.
The water would start to mess with the entire structure of your house. Truthfully, nobody wants that. So, when either one of these things happens, getting your property fixed could cost you a fortune.
Sometimes, you don’t have that fortune to spare as you could have prevented the damage from occurring. But it would be best if you fixed it, so it doesn’t get worse.
In this case, the smoothest thing to do is to get your neighbor to shoulder the responsibility of fixing possible damage caused by the water coming from the neighbor’s property.
But of course, as you know, bearing the cost of repairing the damages caused by the diverting water on your property might be expensive.
Hence, your neighbor might not readily agree to this when you ask them to. Thus, if you have a good heart or you seem to be a peaceful person, you might choose to let it slide while you take care of it when you can afford to shoulder the cost.
While that seems like the logical thing to do, there could be an entirely different turn out of an event where you can get your neighbor to pay for the damage they caused. You can achieve this by following the law.
However, you can only get your neighbor to shoulder the responsibility of fixing the damage the diverting water from their property caused on your property under certain circumstances. Keep reading to figure out the possibility.
Determine The Cause First Before You Act
The first thing to do when you notice the damage on your property is not to sue your neighbor instantly.
You could destroy any cordial relationship you could have had with your neighbor. So, before you take any action, you need to confirm the cause of the damage.
- SURFACE WATER
For starters, it’s natural for the rain to fall. Now, rainfall can lead to waterlogged areas.
If your neighbor’s house were designed in a way that allows rainwater that’s logged on their property to flow into yours freely, your neighbor wouldn’t be held responsible for the damage done on your property.
The water flows into your property due to the construction of the house, not because of your neighbor. Hence, your neighbor isn’t at fault. But there’s more.
The flip side to this is, although water flows from your neighbor’s property into yours, you still want to inspect the cause of the water diversion.
While investigating, you might start to ask questions like, can a neighbor drain water onto your property?
Well, yes, they can.
Well, your neighbor might makespecific changes to their yard in such a way that makes more water than usual flow into your yard from theirs.
When water flows into your yard because of your neighbor’s changes on their property, it’s called water diversion.
Here, some of the modifications or property alterations your neighbor did on their yard might be as trivial as digging a pool on their property.
Regardless, as long as this alteration allows natural water to flow more than usual into your property, then they’ll have to compensate you.
Can A Neighbor Drain Water Onto Your Property?
Once you’re sure you’re dealing with stormwater from your neighbor’s property, you can go on to press charges as you’re now entitled to your neighbor fixing the said damage for you.
Depending on your state, there are quite a few property laws that have quite a few things to say regarding the diversion of water situation that might spring up between you and your neighbor.
Let’s take a brief look at some of these laws.
- REASONABLE USE RULE
This rule assesses the alteration your neighbor did to their property and the possible intention.
If you’re going to win with this case in a state that operates with this rule, you have to present a lot of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, that your neighbor unreasonably altered their land.
Consequently, the alteration caused water to flow into your property, causing damage in the process. There are specific pointers that would help determine if the alteration was reasonable or unreasonable.
For starters, the court would check to see if your neighbor knew that the alteration could lead to water diversion into your property while they constructed the alteration.
The court would also check how vital the alteration was at the time of construction. Then, they’d look into the seriousness of the damage caused by the water diversion compared to the value of the alteration done.
- COMMON ENEMY RULE
the common enemy rule is another rule that’s related to the diverted water damage on property cases. This rule is a bit harsh as it requires landowners to protect their property from water runoffs, which are the common enemy.
Now, this rule is harsh because you can’t exactly hold your neighbor responsible for damage caused by water that flows from their property into yours.
The reason? This law requires every individual to take actions that protect their property from the dangers that can be imposed on their land by water.
Nevertheless, states that operate this rule have made certain adjustments to it to make it a lot more accommodating and flexible.
In other words, you can still hold your neighbor responsible for the damage done to your property under the modified version of this rule.
This is especially true if your neighbor did a negligent alteration to their property that affected you in the long run. The best part about this rule is that not many states operate with it.
- CIVIL LAW/ NATURAL FLOW RULE
This rule holds your neighbor accountable for the damage caused by the alteration on your property.
Regardless of how minor the alteration is, if it allows water to flow into your property, this law ensures that your neighbor shoulders the responsibility of fixing the damage caused by the water on your property.
Nevertheless, states that operate this rule have modified it a bit to make it less strict.
Now, unless the alteration your neighbor did on their property is considered “reasonable,” your neighbor would shoulder the cost of fixing the damage.
If the alteration is considered reasonable, you’ll be required to take actions that protect you from possible further damage that the alteration could cause.
Your neighbor won’t be required to shoulder the cost of fixing you’re the damage on your property.
Like human beings with the ability to be all nice and bitchy all at once, water shares the similarity.
One moment it’s a force that nourishes the human body, plants, and the environment. The next, it’s a tsunami or grows harmful claws to viciously fest on the environment.
Please do not turn into a good Samaritan at this point and decide to do nothing about it. Your property is being violated, and before the water swallows it up in a harmful way, you should set the record straight.
Don’t know what to do when you get in this awkward situation? Would you please permit me to enlighten you? Let’s dive in then!
Now that you know the laws involved, you can adequately handle a neighbor diverting water onto my property conflict.
You do not need to make a fuss about it. But before you take your neighbor to court to force the money for the repair out of their pocket, you might want to talk to them about it first.
Court cases can get tiring. And if you end up not getting your desired result, you’ll probably have wasted money hiring a lawyer, etc.
So, it would be best to start by cordially informing your neighbor about the damage you think the alteration on their property caused.
If they refuse to compensate you or do not care, you can take them to court. Depending on the law your state operates, you’ll surely win this case with enough proof.