What to do if I paid for repairs on a shared sidewalk and my neighbor agreed to share the cost but has now reneged on their promise?

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What to do if I paid for repairs on a shared sidewalk and my neighbor agreed to share the cost but has now reneged on their promise?

The end of the sidewalk was severely sloping and the rest is cracking but is flat. The sloping part was very dangerous, especially during the winter with ice and snow. My neighbor agreed to fix only that area and split the cost. Now it is completed and I paid for it but she will not pay her half. I tried to work with her on some kind of payment schedule, however she refuses now to even talk to me. I’m trying to avoid court because it appears that I will have to take time off work and now I am out more money.

Asked on November 21, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The only way to get the money if your neighbor will not voluntarily honor her committment is to sue her: you would sue for "breach of contract," or violating her agreement (even if it was only an oral or unwritten one, those are enforceable, too). You could sue in small claims court to minimize costs and maximize speed, but will still lose at least one day to court if she does not relent and settle out of court.
To win the case, you would need to prove in court, including by your own credible testimony (or any emails or texts, etc.) that there was an agreement and that your neighbor derived some benefit ("consideration") from it (e.g. she get the benefit of the repaired sidewalk, too) so you can show that a contract existed.


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