who is responsible for a wall leveling off property on a hill

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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who is responsible for a wall leveling off property on a hill

I live on a hill and the neighbor up the hill built a wall well before I moved in
11 years ago – the front 2/3 is railroad ties and the back third is cinderblocks.
The ties are moving my direction…my shed was placed about 10′ out from the wall
and now there is barely an inch between it and the wall. Is he responsible to fix
it before it caves my way? He put in 1 ‘deadman’ several years ago, but that is
really not doing anything…
Thank you

Asked on March 21, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the wall has crept onto your property--e.g. into the bounds of your property--then he would have to move it (and the earth/dirt behind it) back onto his own property: he has no right to intrude onto your property. If he won't do this voluntarily, you could bring a legal action to force him to remove his wall, etc. from your land.
If he's not on your land, however, there is nothing you can do. While it would clearly be wise or practical for him to make repairs, etc. before something catestrophic happens, the law doesn't force him to do so: he is allowed to take his chances and hope nothing happens. If the wall does cave in on your shed, then since you have put him on notice of the risk--you have discussed it with him--you'd able to sue him for all costs and losses you thereby incurred...but that's an after-the-fact remedy. Before the fact, you cannot make him take action so long as the wall is on his land.

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