Q: I suspect this neighbor (who recently had their roof and gutters redone) is now running a drainage hose from their property into a utility easement between our houses. They are on a hill behind my house with a utility easement between us. My yard is getting flooded every time it rains and the neighbor next to me is getting a flood of water down his hill, which then also runs into my yard. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: There are general land use laws that hold that one land owner cannot create a situation which allows water to run off his property and on to the property of others. Before hiring an attorney, you need to take photos, keep a log of all activity, and contact your local zoning enforcement officer. He can look at it and advise you. If what you are saying is accurate, the zoning officer should contact the neighbor and tell him or her to stop and if necessary issue a cease and desist letter. If that doesn’t work, there is a citation process which may be authorized under your borough zoning and/or land use code. You may also ask the zoning officer to direct you to the applicable sections of the zoning code and perhaps get a copy from the borough or township.
Q: The parties bring attendees from a few neighboring states. Our entire street is taken by cars parked on both sides. They come and go at all hours. They’re noisy and can be a very disturbing sight because of their wardrobe. I believe neighbor profits from activity since partygoers wear wristbands. I already asked neighbor to at least downsize his activities. He did nothing. Entire community is affected by this! (Monroeville, PA)
A: You could just keep calling the police when the noise erupts. My approach would be to get a copy of the Borough Zoning Ordinance and read it and become familiar with the applicable portions. I would do this before I talk to the Zoning Officer. It is very likely that the borough would have noise violations and possibly even parking restrictions if the street becomes that congested. You can also have neighbors unify and attend a council meeting. You probably need to schedule ahead of time if you want to speak. The more attention the neighbor’s house gets, the more likely they are to curtail their operations and move elsewhere.
Q: We have property issues with a French-drain system. My neighbor is running his French-drain run off in to my yard, was not to bad unit this past year they did some work on his house and put a sump pump in and now there is a good bit of water that comes out and helps in flooding a lower section of my yard. Is this legal? The property is in Allegheny county, PA?
A: As a first step, express your concerns to your neighbor and see if he will be a good neighbor and voluntarily remedy the situation. Secondly, you may want to contact your local zoning ordinance person. You need to confirm if there is a local ordinance which prevents this. Thirdly, if you get nowhere with the neighbor or municipality, contact a lawyer. you may have a civil suit as I am fairly sure that landowner cannot create a situation which causes water to run onto landowner property. The last I checked there was common law on this subject. The lawyer may be able to settle it with a letter or put pressure on the local ordinance enforcement person to take action.