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Who's responsible and what's the etiquette?

Posted by zaphod42 SE WI 5 (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 22, 11 at 8:47

About three years ago, our neighbors widened their driveway (alot) and now its literally up to the property line. Since its intallation, we've had problems with water in the basement on that side of the house. During rainy and stormy days (like yesterday) I was able to watch as the slope of the driveway brings all their water from he giant driveway and back patio towards our house. To complicate matters, the owners who put in the driveway have since moved and the new owners are first-time homeowners. The previous owner had discussed with DH about addressing the problem together, but moved before anything was done.

1st ? - Would a French drain be the best solution? Can wedo or should we have a professional do? Any other ideas for problem solving?

2nd ? - Do we ask for their assistance? Technically, it would be on both our properties (maybe mostly on theirs). Can we just go ahead and do it or do we need approval (written or otherwise) to access their property?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Who's responsible and what's the etiquette?

1st ? - Would a French drain be the best solution? No. Can we do or should we have a professional do? Maybe Any other ideas for problem solving?Not without more information.

2nd ? - Do we ask for their assistance? It never hurts to ask Technically, it would be on both our properties (maybe mostly on theirs). Not wise. Can we just go ahead and do it or do we need approval (written or otherwise) to access their property? No! Do not trespass!


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RE: Who's responsible and what's the etiquette?

Check your municipal bylaws in case any apply.

I agree that you should not do work on their property, with or without their permission. You do not want your solution to be on their property, as that gives them or future owners control over it. If there is no choice, all of this should DEFINITELY be in writing.

Do talk with the new owners to let them know of your conversations with the previous owner. It is possible that the previous owner should have been required to disclose this problem in the property sale. If so, any cost that now falls to the new owners could be recoverable from the PO - I'm not a lawyer, but they could consult one to find this out.

Or, if you're really lucky, the new owners hate the new driveway and want to remove it!

PLS8xx, maybe you could tell the poster what other information you need to give any more advice? I"m thinking a photo or two wouldn't hurt if you can get one that shows the topography; otherwise a bit of a topographical drawing, and the location of any storm drains nearby. That sort of thing you could also show anyone you hire to consult on the situation.

KarinL


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RE: Who's responsible and what's the etiquette?

You should talk to the neighbors and explain the problem first. It is likely that the extra hard surface is the root of the problem.

There may be other solutions like a curb or "lip" to direct water.

French Drain may or may not be the solution. It depends on what the neighbors can or cannot do, and what they are willing to do.

You may be spinning your wheels here. Find a local person who understands drainage, water and soils, to come out there and share feedback. How to figure out who that person is, I can't say. But you might ask is a local country club greenskeeper does freelance consultation. Some of them deal with drainage routinely.

_____________________

M. D. Vaden of Oregon


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RE: Who's responsible and what's the etiquette?

Although it may be a moot point after three years, I would check county/city ordinances. Putting a driveway right on the property line may not be legal. Usually, there are setback laws for structures and hardscape. Also, neighbors or developers are normally not permitted to make any changes that would affect or create drainage/water problems on neighboring properties. At least, that is the way it is where I live. I would check with zoning at the very least.


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