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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32579
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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I am looking for an attorney who handles residential

Customer Question

I am looking for an attorney who handles residential drainage law in Harris County.
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Texas
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Four surrounding neighbors' properties are draining into my property and seriously damaging my property and the two causing the most damage refuse to do anything.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 months ago.

None of the experts on here are allowed to represent customers of the website. Were you trying to hire an attorney or looking for answers and information?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I am trying to get an answer to a question concerning Texas drainage law. I have paid, but was not able to ask the question.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 months ago.

It looks like you are able to post and ask questions now. Please go ahead and I will answer it tomorrow morning when I get back online.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I have a severe problem with four other homes/lots draining into mine. The extreme amount of water has caused a great deal of erosion to occur. Since the water often comes close to my slab foundation, it will soon be compromised. The neighbors responsible for the damage refuse to do anything to make the water flow to the front of their homes as shown on the drainage map. Since the plans for their homes were approved by the town, are the approving authorities responsible at all? I have drainage in my yard and it drains well, but the amount of water coming in from neighbors is too great and has done much damage. The estimate for adding additional drainage to my yard and repairing the damage is almost $35,000. I cannot afford to do this. I have been told I must work out the problem with the neighbors, but they refuse as they do not have a problem. I have lived here for less than three years, and the situation is getting worse.Thank you.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 months ago.

Conceivably the town could be held liable as well although it is very difficult to hold a municipality liable in a case like this and it depends on exactly how the permit process played out.

Have the other four homes done anything to make the water suddenly start running onto your land since the houses were built or did this start as soon as the houses were built? How long ago did the problem start, in months or years?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
There was some drainage from the lot on my right when I purchased the house less than 3 years ago, and some water collected on the left, back corner of my lot. Because there was so much vegetation in the back of that yard, I could not see what was happening. I thought the water was coming from my yard. Not so. Their plants, trees, etc. were severely trimmed 4 months ago and the old mulch removed. When I could actually see into their yard (we have iron fences), I could see that there was a wide trench at the back which was graded downward toward my lot rather than being graded the other way toward the green belt. We were in a drought when I bought the house. Now that we are getting ample rain again, the amount of drainage from both these lots, as well as the two behind my lot has increased greatly. When it rains, I have a lake in back and a large stream which flows from back to front. It looks like a small river. It is the rapidly flowing water which causes so much erosion. I have holes all over the yard under the grass. Two houses have leveled the drainage swale next to their homes so that the water does not drain forward as intended. The drainage from the right could have been corrected, but the owner refused. That amount of water has destroyed two flower beds of mine. The Woodlands had to approve the builder's drainage plan, but this is not working. The Woodlands approved the pool and very large concrete deck next door without requiring them to install additional drainage, so the water can only flow into my lot. The serious damage began with the plentiful rain late last year. One lot cannot handle drainage from all surrounding lots. The Woodlands told me I had to work out the problem with my neighbors, but my neighbors refuse. I think The Woodlands should rectify the problem.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 months ago.

It's not necessarily a case you can make against the Woodlands. It depends on what they check for when the approve a building. Some municipalities only check to approve the basic building plans, making sure it is up to code, meets the restrictions, etc. Others check for the elevation and drainage systems as well.

If the Woodlands checks for drainage issues and just missed this issue on yours, then they would be liable as would the owners of the property. If any owners made changes which affected drainage follow the approval of the plans then you couldn't hold the city liable for that, only the owner.

If the city doesn't check at all for the drainage when approving plans, then you likely won't be able to hold them liable either. First because of the Texas Tort Claims Act which minimizes in what cases governmental entities are liable and then also because there is no automatic duty on a governmental entity to check for drainage. If they take on that responsibility, then they have a duty to do it correctly but if they don't take on the issue at alt, then there is no duty.

You can certainly try and sue them saying they should have that duty, but what is going to happen is they are going to file a Motion to Dismiss fairly early on based on the Texas Tort Claims Act and the court is going to grant it.

Regardless, you can still pursue the owners of the other lots if, and only if, their building or changing their land caused the drainage to begin running onto your property. If it ran there the entire time then there is nothing you can do other than, perhaps, a suit against the seller.

If you are going to sue The Woodlands then you are required to give them notice of intent to sue within 180 days after the damage began. If you miss the 180 day required notice then you cannot bring suit as the court will have lost jurisdiction. That notice is required by the Texas Tort Claims Act and there is a fairly good article on the issue at http://causeofactionelements.blogspot.com/2011/12/ttca-notice-of-claim-requirement-for.html

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 months ago.

I will be on the computer off and on the rest of the evening.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I am not litigious, but I require information. I need to find an attorney who can tell me what I can and cannot do to protect my property. How do I find a real estate attorney who handles drainage issues? I have called several, but have been unsuccessful.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 months ago.

You can find a lawyer to assist you by going to www.lawyers.com and in the section for Area of Practice enter Civil Litigation or Civil Trial Law. Either of those will have the skill set you need.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered.