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HomeLawHow to Handle a Retaining Wall That Runs on Your Property Line

How to Handle a Retaining Wall That Runs on Your Property Line

Each party is equally responsible if your neighbor’s retaining wall straddles the boundary between your properties. A legal agreement and clear communication should help create an equitable arrangement. Get the Best information about neighbors retaining wall falling on my property.

Problems can arise if the wall is improperly built; neighboring land may subside and form holes in its soil surface.

Easement Agreements

Your title company and real estate attorney should have notified you of any easements on your land. If a neighbor builds a retaining wall within an easement on their property and maintains it themselves at their own expense, ask them to sign an agreement that stipulates they maintain it at their own cost as well as includes a clause permitting you to require them to remove it at any time if it interferes with using it properly – this would prevent future issues when selling your home.

Legal considerations depend on the terms of an easement and who owns the dominant estate (that is, a more valuable part of your land). Let us say Radnor had an easement agreement in place with his predecessor allowing them to construct a deck over his neighbor’s property as long as they maintained the existing retaining wall; but when Radnor decided to tear it down and destroy his neighbor’s property instead, their neighbor claims this broke his terms of the easement agreement and rendered it invalid.

Easements are vital to ensuring you can use your property thoroughly, but they must be adequately recorded when purchasing your house; otherwise, your rights as an owner may become impossible to enforce.

If your neighbor were unaware of an easement when they built their retaining wall, punishing them for their ignorance would not be correct; however, allowing him to continue violating your rights without taking appropriate actions against him could also be considered bad neighborly behavior.

Your neighbor and you can negotiate an agreement about who is responsible for maintaining their retaining wall. However, a qualified lawyer might be better placed to guide your negotiations and draft an agreement that protects your interests. If negotiations are not planned, filing an ordinance complaint might be the next best step.

Legal Issues

One of the primary challenges presented by retaining walls between properties involves legal matters regarding property lines. The owner assumes full responsibility if a wall lies on an actual property line. Unfortunately, it can often be hard to ascertain where that line lies without professional survey services, and laws can vary by state and municipality.

Ownership issues become incredibly complicated if a wall is constructed to prevent erosion on your neighbor’s land due to their negligence. A legal professional can assist in creating an easement agreement that clearly outlines ownership, rights, and responsibilities between each party involved – which will then be filed in public records for filing purposes.

Suppose a retaining wall was built to prevent land erosion on your neighbor’s lower land collapses onto your property, and damages were incurred. In that case, you have every right to demand that they compensate you. Unfortunately, this usually is not feasible without an easement agreement in place.

Retaining walls is an expensive way to divide property. Additionally, they are permanent features that require maintenance to remain safe; you may require the services of professional installers as well. This may incur further expenses.

Homeowners must prioritize communicating with their neighbors as an essential step in solving issues before they escalate, and having an easy-to-read, enforceable agreement in place can save both parties both time and money in the future.

Homeowners often need help to grasp the law governing property boundaries. Determining property lines without T marks or words in their deed can be incredibly challenging; professional surveys will assist homeowners in pinpointing where their boundary lines lie.

If a retaining wall is built several feet away from a property line, it may prompt neighbors to claim ownership of that land through adverse possession. Since it protected their lower land for at least 21 years and was continuously used, they could claim ownership through adverse possession.


Building and maintaining a retaining wall can be costly. If a neighbor wants to construct one, they should consult you before construction and attempt to agree on the price. A permit and the supervision of its construction by a geotechnical and structural engineer may also be needed, depending on its construction location. It may eventually need moving or replacement; such projects often necessitate specialist services.

When the wall sits between properties, it is generally accepted that each benefits from it in equal measures and will contribute towards its maintenance costs. However, as time progresses, both natural ground levels change, and owners of adjoining land vary, so determining the true extent of each benefit may prove challenging.

Neighbors often disagree about where their land boundaries lie, leading to disputes about who should bear the costs associated with building or maintaining a retaining wall. Since its original installation, this process may become further complicated by overgrown bushes, trees, and other obstacles. Identifying exactly where each house stands on each lot may also be challenging as its position can differ from that of its official property line.

If a disagreement develops regarding a retaining wall or rockery, it is wise to seek legal advice immediately. While compromise may sometimes work to resolve such conflicts, both parties’ interests must be considered before making any decision.

Local councils may issue emergency orders in certain situations to stop a neighbor from performing work on their retaining wall, posing an imminent risk to public safety. They will assess if such danger exists by considering factors like wall condition, location and possible effects on adjacent properties.


People with retaining walls that straddle property lines have two management options. One approach would be for them and their neighbors to sign an agreement stating that both parties will share responsibility for maintaining or repairing it if it becomes damaged or collapses. It could help avoid disputes over who should pay for repairs and help determine who owns which yard it resides in.

An alternative approach may be convincing your neighbor to impose as a condition of selling their property that the retaining wall be repaired and maintained; this could prove more challenging as its future buyer may care less for its condition than you.

Call the city and establish whether the retaining wall falls within its jurisdiction and who should take responsibility. In many instances, it will likely fall under both owners’ fault as it was built near an adjoining property line and affects both.

Whenever a retaining wall lies along the boundary between two properties, they must consult their city for an exact map showing where property lines fall and historical records to ascertain whether permits were issued. Suppose it lies below ground level and requires support from outside sources, such as backfilling land with fill material that removes natural support mechanisms like vegetation cover that might otherwise provide the foundation. In that case, this might fall to one neighbor who backfilled and removed these natural supports, creating the need for the retaining wall in the first place.

If a retaining wall has been constructed on an uphill property due to damage done by neighboring yards or homes, its brutal owner is ultimately liable for its repair and replacement; their actions led to this need in the first place.

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