How Can I Stop a Neighbor Diverting Water Onto My Property?

Neighbor Complaints How Can I Stop a Neighbor Diverting Water Onto My Property?

SOS! How To Deal With a Neighbor Diverting Water Onto My Property

Living too close to someone can cause many disputes. If a water runoff from your neighbor’s property ends up in your yard, it can be super frustrating. Finding out that it’s all your neighbor’s fault can call for some more serious actions.

“What can I do about a neighbor diverting water onto my property?” is a question many people have. We are here to answer it!
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Possible Water Disputes With Neighbors

Before taking further actions, you should find out whether the water damage is caused by a neighbor or not. Check the following table for clarification:


What Is Causing the Problem? Explanation Is It the Neighbor’s Fault?
Surface water It’s the natural water runoff that comes from excessive rain and stays on the surface. It can run off to the nearest yard, especially if it’s downhill In case of a natural runoff caused by rain, neighbors generally cannot be held legally accountable for the damage caused on the property
Diversion of water When a person makes alterations to their property (such as installing pools or pouring concrete decks), it eliminates natural surfaces that soak up stormwater. That way, stormwater runs off to the next yard A neighbor who made alterations to their property can be held legally accountable for the damage caused on your property

Stormwater Runoff From Neighbors Property—What Does the Law Say?

Most states have the following laws that cover the issue of water diversion:

  1. Reasonable use rule—In most states, if a neighbor alters the property and, by doing that, causes water damage to your land, they are liable for the damage. First, you need to prove they were “unreasonable” to the judge. Here’s what can help determine the neighbor’s fault:
    1. The nature and importance of the alteration
    2. The foreseeability of the damage while they were making the alterations
    3. The degree of damage in comparison to the value of alterations
  2. Common enemy rule—This rule states that every landowner is obligated to protect their property from water runoff. Fortunately, not all states rely on the common enemy rule, and those that do now use the modified version. According to the modified common enemy rule, a landowner is allowed to divert water only if the work is necessary and they use reasonable care to avoid damage to nearby properties
  3. Civil law rule—If a landowner disrupted the natural flow of water and caused damage to another property, they can be held accountable in court. It is also called the natural flow rule, and it’s more similar to the reasonable use rule

Ways To Prevent Damage Caused by Storm Water From Neighbors Property

Before you file a complaint against your neighbor, you can try to protect your yard from further damage by doing some of the following:

  • Dig a swale and build a berm—Swales will collect the runoff, and berms will redirect it. This way, you can divert water away from your land. You should plan this carefully to avoid redirecting water to another neighbor’s yard
  • Install in-ground drainage to a dry well—A dry well does not only collect the excess water but also drains it out to the surrounding soil, which can be beneficial if you have a garden
  • Install French drains to catch runoff water—French drains work on a similar principle as a dry well, except they are easier to install and are more eco-friendly

Will Your Insurance Cover Stormwater Runoff Damage?

It depends. In water damage cases, it’s important to determine the source. If the water comes from an inside source, your homeowner’s insurance should cover it. If the water damage is caused by an outside source, such as rising water, your flood insurance comes into play.

You should contact your insurance agent to check the specifics and plan further actions.

Use DoNotPay To Send Your Neighbor a Demand Letter

If you tried talking to your neighbor and it didn’t work, it may be time to take the next step. Our Neighbor Complaint feature can handle this problem for you!

What you need to do is access DoNotPay and follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Choose the Neighbor Complaint product
  2. Select the type of problem you’re experiencing
  3. Give us more details regarding the issue with your neighbors

We will create a customized demand letter containing the following:

  • Your complaint
  • Arbitration notice
  • The amount of compensation you’re seeking
  • Warning about the legal actions that could follow if they choose to ignore your demands

Have any other troubles with neighbors? We can help with the following matters:

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