Are property owners responsible for the water which falls on their property?

And should they be required to control flooding caused by their driveways and roofs which shed water and there are no provisions to contain such water? My property is being flooded and damaged every time we have a hard rain. The water is coming from adjacent property owners and from property across the street. I live in a private subdivision.

Asked on October 25, 2015 under Real Estate Law


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A property owner is only responsible if he or she made some changes to their property or built some structures on their property which are not appropriate or reasonable, or which were intentionally designed to deflect water onto your property; an example would grading or landscaping in such fashion as to divert water from their property onto yours. However, if they have simply done reasonable construction or landscaping and the water being shed onto your property is simply a consequence of the respective positions of your properties (e.g. they are located uphill or upgrade of you), then they are not liable or responsible and it would be, unfortunately, your situation to address, such as by how you grade your own property, building dry wells, etc.

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