What to do about water runoff from my neighbor’s property that is flooding mine?

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What to do about water runoff from my neighbor’s property that is flooding mine?

I have a neighbor who’s property adjoins mine. This neighbor has a pond in which the overflow from this pond during storms flows into my yard flooding it. This has caused gradual eroding which has led to things like cracks in my driveway. He has already refused to do anything about this runoff. Do I have any legal recourse that I can take?

Asked on January 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your neighbor for nuisance.  Nuisance is a serious and unreasonable interference with your use and enjoyment of your property.

In a lawsuit for nuisance, damages (monetary compensation) is an inadequate remedy.  Damages are inadequate because of the multiplicity of lawsuits since the flooding of your property is a continual problem.  Damages are also inadequate because land is unique.

Since damages are inadequate, your remedy is an injunction.  A court will balance the benefit and burden to you and your neighbor to decide whether or not to issue an injunction. The court will balance the benefit to your neighbor of having the pond versus the burden to you of the flood damage to your property. The court may issue a temporary restraining order which would be in effect until a preliminary hearing when the court may issue a preliminary injunction which would be in effect until trial when the court will decide whether or not to issue a permanent injunction.  The language in the injunction will be framed in the negative to avoid enforcement problems.

You may be required to post a bond to obtain an injunction.  The bond may be quite expensive, but the court also has the discretion to waive the bond requirement due to financial hardship or other reasons.


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