Who is responsible for property damage on private property caused by by public water?

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Who is responsible for property damage on private property caused by by public water?

I am the only house on my cul-de-sac on the low side of a hill. Water from POA (Property Owner’s Association) drainage ditches has overflowed on several occasions, come across the cul-de-sac, and at multiple points drained off into my property. This has left deep trenches in my yard, erosion, and has destroyed landscaping. The mayor has agreed to put culverts in, however has not mentioned anything in regards to fixing the damage done to my land. Is the city responsible for damages? Should they have to fix it?

Asked on April 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, if the entity which--the Property Owner's Association?--which control the water is negligent in some fashion, they should be responsible. That means that if the ditches are, for example, badly designed, badly contstructed, and/or badly maintained, and that's why they overflow, the owner/controller would be responsible for the damages caused by it. So you may have a claim against whomever is charge of the overflow ditches for your losses; be aware, though, that there are stringent paperwork and also time frame requirements for a suit against public entities, so you may wish to discuss this matter in depth with an attorney immediatley, to both see if you have a claim (and what it's worth) and to also get the ball rolling right away, in the proper fashion. Good luck.


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