What can we do if our neighbors septic has been overflowing onto our property for about a year?

UPDATED: Mar 24, 2015

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What can we do if our neighbors septic has been overflowing onto our property for about a year?

I have contacted the health department and filed the appropriate paperwork 9 months ago. They have investigated, found fault, owner agrees to make repairs with septic / excavating company but still nothing is done. What are my legal rights?

Asked on March 24, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the property owner under the theory of "nuisance":  a property owner is not allowed to do things (or allow things, such as through failing to correct a problem) which impair his neighbors' enjoyment of their property, if those things are not normal, everyday activities for that kind of property. That means, for example, that you can't sue your neighbor because you're a vegan and you hate the smell of his daily BBQs, since grilling is normal in residential areas; but having your septic overflow onto your neighbor's property is NOT normal, especially when, as here, the neighbor clearly knows of the issue. You could sue for a court order forcing him to correct the situation and also for monetary compensation.

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