can a lot owner be forced to put in a seawall?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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can a lot owner be forced to put in a seawall?

We own a lot on a river and the adjacent property owner installed a seawall. the property owner now wants us to put in a sea wall claiming we are now responsible for erosion on our shared property line.

Asked on December 22, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The government can force you to put in a seawall, using, for example, eminent domain. A fellow private citizen and landowner has no legal right to force you to install one. You are also not responsible for any erosion on your property line because you do not have a duty to protect another person's property--you have a duty to not actively do anything to harm their property, but that is different from having to take steps to protect it from natural forces.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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