Storm water runoff onto adjacent property – California

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Storm water runoff onto adjacent property – California

Please I would appreciate if someone could answer my question regarding
storm water runoff onto adjacent properties. The sides of my neighbor
and my front yards merge together with the city sidewalks in front. My
neighbor is wanting to extend his driveway right up to the property line
which means that storm water runoff would fall directly onto my
property. I get conflicting answers to my question from the city-
engineering dept says this is not allowed, but planning dept says it’s
allowed without a permit and the neighbor could pour the driveway
extension himself. I am very concerned about the negative impact this
would have on my property. Are there any laws or codes that would
protect me?

Asked on October 29, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Zoning, construction permits and rules about what can be built, how, are fundamentally local, so you need to consult with a local attorney who can review municipal ordinances, speak to the building department, advise you as to what is permitted and what your options are, and take legal action if appropriate. There is a general "common law" (i.e. applicable pretty much anywhere) concept that a neighbor may not deliberately cause damage, cost, inconvenience, etc. to a neighbor for a not-otherwise-legitimate reason, but this may not help you, because the kicker is "for a not-otherwise-legitimate reason": that is, a neighbor may not build, say, a retaining wall or water control system designed to divert floor or runoff water from his property to yours; but he can generally pave his land for walkways, parking pads, driveways, etc. even if a side effect is to affect you, since the basic purpose is not to burden you, but to utilize his own property. Therefore, you best best is to see if an attorneey can find something in local code or regulations barring this.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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