Who is responsible for fixing a retaining wall located on a property line?

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2011

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Who is responsible for fixing a retaining wall located on a property line?

There is a retaining wall between my property and my neighbor’s right on the property line. My neighbor states that I am responsible for the cost because she is down hill. Is that true?

Asked on August 5, 2011 Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In most states, the laws are that if a fence or a wall straddles the property line between two parcels and needs repairs, the two property owners sharing the fence or wall share equally in its costs of repair or upkeep.

Your neighbor is incorrect. In your situation where a retaining wall benefits both your and the neighbor's property, both of you are obligated to equally sahre in costs and repairs of it. The neighbor does not get a free "pass" because his or her property is on the downhill side of the retaining wall.

You should get several estimates for the wall's repair and give them to the neighbor to review. You and the neighbor need to approve the best estimate under the circumstances and enter into a written agreement between the two of you for the repair's cost and contribution to prevent and problems in the future.

Good luck.


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