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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 30365
Experience:  JA Mentor
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Am I allowed to service my part of a 5 foot tall concrete

Customer Question

Am I allowed to service my part of a 5 foot tall concrete retaining wall that lies directly on the edge of my lot line between my neighbors grassy lot . My neighbor told me that she does not allow me on her property . she told me not to bother her about walking along her property to service my wall. I need to wash it , paint it, place a plastic vapor barrier down on the grass within 3 feet of my wall to keep the runoff water from entering my wall footing foundation that is causing water erosion beneath my footing that weakens the soil causing it to settle little by little each rainy summer season ...we get nearly 36 inch'sof torrential rain in broodsville fl area in a 3-4 month summer period. I am a landscape drainage consultant and mitigator for commercial propertys of all types....50 yrs exp from teenage yrs working in the business.
We live in a home owners association 1800 retirement community and I feel I have a right to landscape this problem the correct way since my neighbors have nothing growing but old weedy grass against my wall with no flowers or bush's , just 4 sprinkler heads that partially spray against my wall and need adjusted to spray their lawn . I call this project a landscape retrofit.
The president of HOA told me that other issues like mine were solved by having an attorney send them a letter, since the neighbor told you not to hassle her with retaining wall issues and not to be a nuisance to her cause it makes her and her husband upset and they get sick over it.
Actually they came over on my property intoxicated yelling at me 3 times the last year and a half...I gave them a quick small drawing as to how I want to install a vapor barrier along the 80 foot length x 3 feet wide along the wall on their side to solve the water penetration problem and it would keep it dry and solve the problem of water erosion along my wall.
They told me they want to sell me the 3 feet for 20,000 dollars . I told them I don't want to own their property and I just do not want their water runoff penetrating my footing and causing a soft bottom. I will pay for the materials and labor to do it, just give me the ok to service correctly solve the problem...She is a snowbird resident retired school teacher and her husband is retired machinist from ohio down her during the winter spring season and they say it doesn't rain here that much during the summer.
I have been living in fl since 1970 and worked here as a landscape masonry lic contractor and general contractor solving residential hurricane drainage problems and commercial landscapes for large communities and this is how we get to the root of the problem from a prevention maintenance direction.
They moved in about a year before we moved here in 2013 of October. The lady that lived here was very old and bound for the nursying home when we bought her property.
My neighbors said that my sellor was not complaining about the wall starting to tilt a little towards them. and she was of sound mind they told me...Quite the contrary , she was being taken advantage of last few years as I was told by her son from Chicago due to her memory loss progressing and kindness nature in beleiving solicitors demands...
My neighbors said they had nice conversations with my sellor and not once did she complain about the wall...
For sake of Brevity . How can I get them to allow me to service my wall to cure the problem by installing a plastic vapor barrier with white landscape drainage rocks to match what they have in their front yard island rock flower plant garden. Allow me to walk my wall with material and labor to service it.
The county engineer said he had no problem with what I suggested . I need no permit to do a plastic sheeted rock garden against my wall on their property...just work it out with them to allow you to walk along their to do it.
If I don't do this my wall will continue to move and lean more each rainy summer season until it present a safety hazard of collapsing eventually at some future date, from neglecting to service it with a proper solution.....HOA president agrees with me that I should be able to service it . but my neighor says they are being hassled about it to me.
Please advise me ,
Respectfully ,
Perry Saris
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

You're allowed to do whatever you need to do to your property NEXT to the wall, because that's your property. If it is undisputed that they own the wall and that the wall is entirely on the lot line, you unfortunately don't have a right to wash and paint it. (If it straddles the line, then one side may belong to you and you can do whatever you want with it.) If it's an eyesore, you can build your own wall, on your side of the line, not touching theirs. That could create maintenance issues with the new wall, but it is something you'd have a right to do if (a) it would in any way help and (b) it doesn't violate any HOA regulations.

The better course of action is what the HOA president has suggested - send her a letter explaining that the wall is causing a nuisance. A property owner has an obligation to use and enjoy their property without causing hardship on their neighbor's. If you're getting excess drainage on your property because of that wall, you have a right to take steps to fix the problem. If you go to court, your neighbor will have to pay the cost of abating the nuisance AND the cost of fixing any damage that has happened on your property so far. They'll be responsible for repairing your property if the wall collapses and damages your land. You can mention that in the letter. If you want to write it yourself, sending it via certified mail will help ensure that she pays attention. Keep a copy of the letter and the certified mail receipt so you can prove she's aware that the wall presents a danger, in case it collapses before you're able to work out a solution. But a letter might be more effective coming from a lawyer.

Also, you said that they're coming onto your property and yelling at you. You don't have to put up with that. You can include in the letter notice that they are prohibited from entering your property for any reason until further notice, and that if they come visit you again without an EXPRESS invitation, you will have them charged with trespassing. Fl. Stat., Section 810.09. That's a misdemeanor. Once they have notice they're not welcome on your land, you can call the police on them if they show up again. The signed return receipt and copy of the letter is evidence of notice.

It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.