Ask a Lawyer – “Water from my neighbor’s land keeps flooding mine. What can I do about it?”
If your land is being flooded by water from your neighbor’s land, the dispute will usually (but not always) fall under the law of nuisance. Nuisance allows you to sue someone who uses their land in a manner that interferes with your ability to reasonably enjoy your land.
When it comes to disputes over flooding, several things need to be kept in mind. Your neighbor is not liable for the flow of surface water so long as the flow is natural. However, in such a case you are free to protect your land from this water, even if it results in the water remaining on your neighbor’s land and flooding it. For example, suppose your neighbor’s lawn is naturally higher than yours, and after every rainfall the water from it flows onto your lawn. You cannot sue your neighbor, but you can build a barrier to block that water.
However, it would be a nuisance to alter the land so as to artificially increase or concentrate the natural flow of surface water. So, if your lawn gets flooded after your neighbor dug a ditch that redirects rainwater from their lawn onto yours, you may be able to sue them.
Finally, if the water flows in a natural watercourse (a river or a stream), then your neighbor cannot cut off that stream from your land, but nor can you block that stream so as to flood your neighbor’s land. The natural watercourse should not be disturbed by either side.
If you have a dispute with your neighbors because of water damage or any other issue, please contact us.