Can I sue my neighbor who received a lot of fill and raised his property substantially, causing water to drain onto my yard...

Asked over 1 year ago - Potsdam, NY

because now my yard is much shorter. The neighbor received a lot of fill from local contractors. When I asked the contractors for fill, they said my property was further away (less than 1/2 a mile) and the neighbors property was closer. So, their property is much higher than it was, and my back yard always floods. I have no proof, but it is obvious they received so much fill. Can I legally do anything? It has been happening going on about 3 years now. My basement also floods now. It did a little before, but much more now in the past 2 years.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Richard J. Chertock

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As you stated that you "have no proof" and you are 1/2 mile away it would be an extremely difficult case to win. If you could obtain proof you might be able to seek relief based upon your neighbor creating a nuisance.

    This e-mail may contain confidential or privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, please... more
  2. Jack Richard Lebowitz

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Chertok. If the neighbor's property is 2000 feet away, it's unlikely that their fill caused a nuisance. Also, at common law, drainage problems were generally not considered nuisances if a landowner improved his property by importing fill which caused natural drainage patterns to change.

    Today, most impacts of that nature are dealt with in the planning, zoning and environmental law context where fill placement may be regulated by stormwater management or wetlands permitting which may require permission to place fill on property or require that post construction/improvement runoff volumes not exceed pre-development runoff.

    However, this depends on the location of the property (city vs. country), the type of development (single family vs. subdivisons or commercial development and other factors. You should consult with a landscape architect or engineer in the area to see whether the neighbor's fill placement was regulated or whether it has a causal link to your flooding problems before consulting an attorney if there is some remedy. Your local building codes officer or planner may be able to offer some insights and advice as well.

    This answer is provided under the Avvo.com “Terms and Conditions of Use” (“ToU”), particularly ¶9 which states... more
  3. Richard J. Brickwedde

    Contributor Level 12

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I think there is a 3 year statute of limitations for suing for damages if you have a cause of action at all. An up-gradient property owner cannot change the character of his or her land such that it changes the drainage from the up-gradient property to the down-gradient property. You would need a qualified expert to advise whether this has been done.

    My answer to your question is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship,
  4. Joseph Allen Bollhofer

    Contributor Level 12

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Under Common law in NY, property owners have a legal obligation to runoff
    from flooding neighboring properties. If the neighbor will not listen to
    reason and the local municipality will not help you, a lawsuit is your only
    alternative.



    Joseph A. Bollhofer, Esq.

    Joseph A. Bollhofer, P.C.

    291 Lake Ave.

    St. James, NY 11780

    (631)584-0100

    fax (631)584-2304

    info@bollhoferlaw.com

    www.bollhoferlaw.com

    Member, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)

    This e-mail may contain confidential or privileged information. If you are
    not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by return
    e-mail and delete this e-mail and all copies and attachments. If you are not
    the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering
    the message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any
    dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly
    prohibited.

    IRS Circular 230 Notice: Unless specifically stated otherwise, any tax
    advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not
    intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i)
    avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting,
    marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter
    addressed herein.

    Unless specifically stated otherwise, this communication shall not be deemed
    to be legal or tax advice, and no attorney-client relationship shall be
    deemed to have been created.

    Unless specifically stated otherwise, this communication shall not be deemed to be legal or tax advice, and no... more

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

25,490 answers this week

3,218 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

25,490 answers this week

3,218 attorneys answering