Who is responsible for repairing the retaining wall that divides property?

There is a retaining wall between my property and my neighbor’s. There are a few cracks on my neighbor’s side, they claimed that they were caused by the roots of the tree on my side. The tree is right next to the wall and it was not intentionally planted there, the biggest trunk area is about 4 inches in diameter. Who should be responsible for repairing the cracks which are on neighbor’s side?

Asked on August 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

This can be a sticky situation so handle it with as much diplomacy as you can.  Whose property is the wall on?  If it is on your property then it is yours to maintain and vice versa. If it is on both your properties then it is both of your responsibilities.  But as a practical matter you should agree to maintain the wall as it probably serves a purpose to both of you.  Offer to pay for some of the repairs.  And take care of the tree issue.  Good luck.  

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