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We have an issue with our neighbor behind us and the

We have an issue...

We have an issue with our neighbor behind us and the retaining wall and fence. Our property is higher than the neighbor behind us by roughly 18". I have no access to the retaining wall to do maintenance. The homeowner behind us had done nothing to maintain the retaining wall. The wall (and fence) are failing. The homeowner behind us wants to replace the fence and retaining wall now. They want us to cover 50% of the cost. We do not have the funds to do this now. We also believe that it is the responsibility of the neighbor behind us to maintain that wall as they receive the benefit of a flat piece of land. THoughts?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?

No, we received one copy of a bid from a fence company. We were told they received at least three bids but, they did not provide them to us. They provided the bid that they said was the cheapest.

Lawyer's Assistant: Where is the land located?

Rohnert Park, Ca

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

That's it.

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Answered in 14 minutes by:
6/29/2018
Christopher B, Esq.
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,146
Experience: associate attorney
Verified

It might matter who originally built the wall. If it was the neighbor or the previous owner, that certainly implies ownership and responsibility, particularly if the neighbor made a modification to his property necessitating the wall. Sometimes, though, such walls are the product of a previous civil agreement between neighbors. Ideally, this would be noted on your deed, title document or survey. Other times, the responsibility for such a “party wall” lies in the title documents of a homeowners association or planned unit development if your neighborhood happens to fall under either structure. If either of you has done something to impact the wall’s structural integrity since it was first constructed, that could carry weight, too. If the wall is on the neighbors land, that will also give more evidence that it is the neighbor who should take care of this cost. It might be wise to take care of this as could be held responsible if the wall falls and your dirt destroys or damages something on your neighbor's land. Your Neighbor has a legal right to not have the ground that supports their property, especially your house, undermined. But as far as having a 3 to 4 foot wall and the associated dirt topple over onto their property.... unless it threatens to damage some permanent structure of theirs, I would guess that the neighbor may have no recourse.

Under CA law, there is a responsibility for mutual support. That means that you cannot undermine or excavate the ground at the property line without taking measures to ensure your ground remains stable, and likewise, your neighbor has the same responsibility toward you. Similarly, if an improvement belonging to you is endangering your neighbor's property, it becomes a liability issue for you. If you can show with certainty that the wall belongs entirely to the neighboring property rather than being a shared wall, the liability associated would remain with your neighbor.

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Thank you in advance.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
OK. So it is shared because we are in California. What I am not sure of here is that the lower neighbor behind me has done nothing to maintain the retaining wall. I have not made any changes or improvements to my higher on top side of the retaining wall property. He lower owner want 50% of the costs and he wants it now with only one bid. We are not prepared to pay now and I would expect more than one bid.

You do not have to adhere to his conditions. I would speak to him and negotiate a deal that you can live with. If your neighbor is unwilling to let you have input, you could simply go out and get your own quotes. Then you can offer to pay half of the one that is the lowest. If there is possibility for the wall giving away and damaging the neighbor's property (you could be held liable), you might think long and hard about what you want to pay.

Could you rate my answer? This will cost you nothing extra and will simply insure that I will be compensated for my time with you BY THE SITE. I would really appreciate it and it would really help me out. See link for how to rate: http://ww2.justanswer.com/help/how-do-i-rate-answer-hl

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Just checking back in, do you have any further questions?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
No thank you

I am glad you are satisfied. Could you rate my answer? This will cost you nothing extra and will simply ensure that I will be compensated for my time with you BY THE SITE. Without the rating I will get nothing for the question. I would really appreciate it and it would really help me out. See link for how to rate: http://ww2.justanswer.com/help/how-do-i-rate-answer-hl

Christopher B, Esq.
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,146
Experience: associate attorney
Verified
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