If a retaining wall fell over from neighbor’s side, who’s responsible to rebuild?

UPDATED: Oct 10, 2011

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If a retaining wall fell over from neighbor’s side, who’s responsible to rebuild?

The retaining wall that was on my neighbor’s side fell over after a storm (and from a tree on their side, it has since fallen as well, but the decaying stomp remains) about 6 years back. The landlord communicated a bit but begun to ignore us. The wall itself was dealt with by our insurance company talking to his. Since then, the wall of dirt is held back by the roots of the decaying stomp and a mismatch of random stuff. We have begun to wonder what the law says about this matter? Is there any requirement to rebuild the wall? Who pays?

Asked on October 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, unless there is a local statute or ordinance requiring a fenceline between two parcels, there is really no obligation by either of the property owners to rebuild the fence. The only reason to build a fence is to either keep something out, something in or for privacy.

In your situation of you want to rebuild the wall along the fence line, you can do so. However, if you do so without advsing your neighbor of this, then most likely you will be held to pay the entire cost of the wall.

However, if you want to have your neighbor share the cost of the wall, it is best of you ask him or her to pay half of the cost before the project is even started.


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