Neighbor's Downspout Ruining Property
By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin
Summary: A neighbor's new downspout is ruining
a Florida property. Ilyce and Sam discuss what recourse the owners have.
Q: My mother lives in a gated community in Florida. A short time ago she and her neighbor installed gutters on their homes.
The homes are about six feet from each other. The problem is that the neighbor has the downspout aimed toward my mother's home causing the water to hit my mom’s home and damage her flower beds and porch. My mother asked the neighbor to turn the downspout toward her own property but she refused because it would damage her flowerbed.
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My mother offered to pay half of whatever the installer charged to correct the problem but nothing has been done. But the neighbor has refused to agree to change anything.
My mother has appealed to the homeowner's association and they told her there was nothing they could do. She is concerned that the problem must be fixed before she sells. What should we do?
A. It is unfortunate that your neighbor is unwilling to work with you on this issue. While I am not a contractor, the gutter and downspout installer may have other solutions for your problem. The contractor may be able to extend the downspouts out to the back of the home or come up with a creative solution with respect to the way the water is thrown from your neighbor’s property.
While your homeowner’s association was unwilling to help, you local city, village or town government may help you. In many municipalities, local codes and ordinances require homeowners to abide by certain rules when installing gutters and downspouts and how it affects the flow of water from one lot to another. You may find that your village, city or town will help in this situation.
Finally, you can discuss this issue with your real estate attorney. Your state may have certain laws relating to the flow of water from one lot to another and your neighbor’s actions may violate either these laws or other court cases in your state.
Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website www.thinkglink.com