am i responsible for snow that falls from my roof onto my neighbors driveway?

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am i responsible for snow that falls from my roof onto my neighbors driveway?

We have a very steeply pitched slate roof and live in a very closely settled area.
After 25 years of having the snow fall from our roof and onto his driveway, my
neighbor has decided he has had enough of an impassible driveway and wants us
to have hardware installed into our roof that would stop this from happening. It
costs about 3,000.

Are we responsible in any way for the snow from our roof falling into his driveway?

Asked on May 3, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, you are not. A person is not responsible for natural weather conditions, only for his or her own actions. If you did something unreasonable to cause your neighbor's issues, you could be liable--such as if you installed some sort of "diverter" on your roof specifically to angle falling snow away from your property, onto his. But there is nothing at all unreasonable about having a steeply angled roof, especially in MA, where such are common to prevent damage from roof snow build up. (E.g. my father-in-law lives in North Adams, MA, in an A-frame home, with about as steep a roof pitch as you can imagine--and that style home and roof is not uncommon there.) For the sake of neighborly relations, you might want to consider maybe going halves with him on the cost, if you deem your relationship with him worth $1,500, but nothing you write indicates that you are legally responsible here.


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