I have a question that's been bugging me for a while. I live next to a
restaurant that has a parking lot that runs parallel to my house. When
it rains, the water runs off of the parking lot and into my yard, and
then down into my basement. There isn't enough room to slope the ground
from the side of my house to the parking lot because of a sidewalk. Do I
need to put up a retaining wall? Would a fence work? A ditch? Who's
responsibility is it to take care of this problem? I don't have the best
relationship with the owner of the restaurant (he refuses to make his
employees close the dumpster and trash blows into my yard all the time)
So I'm not sure what to do here. Any suggestions?
Also, may depend (jurisdictions have differing rules) on who modified
the drainage last--is the parking lot a new addition or was it existing
when you bought the house? It may be pertinent that (I'm presuming) the
house was there first even if you bought it afterwards. Some
jurisdictions have rules that basically state that new construction
can't create a different/new drainage problem. Of course, if it's been
a number of years and you haven't complained or you're a new owner of an
old existing problem you may not have too much luck.
But, the first thing to do is to contact the city/county/whichever you
reside and find out the rules/regulations you're operating under and to
see if you can force the other guy to take some action to at least help
mitigate the magnitude of the problem you have to solve.
The problem obviously needs to be corrected/alleviated however, before
it does structural damage to the foundation.
Well, the parking lot was there when I bought the house but there wasn't
a restaurant there. When they put the restaurant in, they repaved the
parking lot and made it a lot higher. I've been living here since it was
done but I didn't realize where all the water was coming from until we
had a downpour one day and it flooded. I just hadn't been home and seen
The city or county goverment will direct you on who to complain to on
garbage, it should be the health dept. And who can address your water
issue. If work is recent, 1 yr. you should have no problem in getting
him to remedy it through the inspectors.
Well, that's going to make it more difficult, obviously, to get relief
through the city...they <may> look at it and decide the repaving made it
worse, but if you didn't notice it for four years, I'd sure be less if I
were the city person... :)
May be your best recourse now would be a diversion ditch around your
side lot onto your (mutual) neighbor--of course, then they may come
after you for creating a new nuisance for them... :(
Still best bet is to go to city first and see what they'll say/do...
Ransley is probably right on. You may have a better chance with the
city if you go look at permits for the original lot installation and the
repaving. The city may have approved a grade that could have been
expected to drain onto your lot - then you will have to fight city hall.
An asphalt curb might do the trick in directing the water off the lot
toward street. Just a small berm on the edge of your lot along the
paving, with sod or a ground cover on top and not very high, might do
the trick and save a lot of grief. Keeping the peace is in your
interest if you plan on staying there, and may keep the restaurant owner
from becoming more creative and plowing snow onto your property :o)
They almost did that this last winter. I had to go out there and tell
the guys who were plowing NOT to push the dang snow up against my
fence(chain link around backyard). But they were persistent. <G>
He's actually offered to buy my house. It think he'd like to tear it
down and built a bigger parking lot. But he's not willing to pay what my
house is worth. I did talk to him today and he said that he has some of
the parking berms (not exactly sure what they're called...the things
that go in the front of parking spaces to keep car tire from going too
far) and said that he could put several of those along the parking lot
to keep the water from coming over. If that works, it would be great
The time frame starts when you first notice the problem.
First, understand, the law's on your side irrespective of what ordinances,
inspections, permits, etc. may or may not exist. The owner of a piece of
property is absolutely responsible for any damage the use of his property
causes another. Your case is no different from one in which the neighbor
builds a rickety three-story building that falls on your house!
First, I would counsel with my homeowner's insurance agent. They may be able
Next, I'd visit the diner's owner. Explain that his resurfacing project has
imperiled your home, that he needs to get the contracters back out and have
them fix the job. No threats, but be firm in your position that he must take
steps forthwith and he must keep you informed of the progress.
Following that, after gathering all your ducks from the city inspection and
permitting office, visit a lawyer. A simple demand letter that the neighbor
take immediate steps should be sufficient.
As for the trash, heck, I'd gather it up in a trash bag and return it to
him. In the restaurant. During his busiest hour. I'd also send him a
fire-truck at various times of the day or night.
It seems to me that the owner of the parking lot is responsible. His runoff
is impacting your property. Maybe small claims court if he doesn't correct
the problem. and should be required to remedy the problem. I'd first
contact the city or county.
Take alot of photos especialy of the garbage in case it goes further.
Garbage is a health issue. You may or may not have a flooding claim,
talk to an atty. if the city won`t help. See if he pulled a permit 4
years ago for the lot, they are on file.
if the city/county route doesn't seem to help, get th local news station to
run an "investigation" of the "bad neighbor." If he is a smart businessman,
he will realize that there is such thing as bad press.
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