Perhaps you’ve always gotten along well with your Michigan neighbors. Whether you consider yourselves good friends or acquaintances who team up for the annual cornhole tournament at the community block party, it’s nice to be on friendly terms with people who live next door. Certain issues, however, like a real estate dispute, can turn a neighborly relationship into an all-out legal battle.
Water damage is often a central focus of real estate disputes between neighbors. There may be natural runoff that travels from your neighbor’s yard into yours. If there’s a storm and water rushes onto your property and causes damage, your neighbor is not necessarily responsible for damages. If, on the other hand, your neighbor altered the natural terrain by upgrading landscaping or constructing something (like a swimming pool) that’s a different issue altogether.
Was the alteration that your neighbor made reasonable?
When real estate disputes over water damage and exterior alterations are brought before civil court judges, one of the factors the court considers to make a decision is whether the alterations that the defendant made to his or her property were reasonable or necessary. The court also considers whether it was obvious to your neighbor that the alterations would cause increased water flow and possible damage to your property.
Did careless water damage occur?
You might be facing a situation where your neighbor did not make any alterations to his or her property. Perhaps your home or property suffered water damage because your neighbor forgot to turn off a hose or sprinkling system, or didn’t repair a faulty pipeline and it burst. These are examples of incidents that may occur that might spark a real estate dispute and create liability if a case is brought to court and the judge determines that the neighbor was negligent.
Gathering evidence for a real estate dispute
If you are trying to resolve a water damage issue or some other real estate dispute with a neighbor, it’s important to gather as much evidence as possible before addressing the matter in court. For instance, it’s a good idea to take photographs of the damage that occurred. Or, if your dispute is about encroachment, such as a fence or tree that has breached the property line and is invading your space, it is wise to photograph that, as well.
It’s always best to avoid confrontations with a neighbor. If you cannot peacefully discuss and resolve an issue, it may be wise to seek additional support from someone who can help you find a fair and agreeable solution to the problem.