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Old 09-24-2009, 12:03 AM   #1
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welcome to arkansas, your on your own sucker


I sold my home on dry soil in California and took a plunge and bought a house in Arkansas. 2.5 acres and a beautiful 1700 square foot home.
Being a licensed plumber and contractor I thought theres nothing that could surprise me. And having so many tools and supplies that the leafs on my 26' moving truck were flat and I was on the rubber bumpers stops on the frame.
Yes all my teeth are loose it was a ride from hell.

Anyhoo my first mission after hiring a home inspector was to recheck his inspection on my own. So under the house I went.

I was more concerned on checking for structural problems (being a raised foundation) and subterranean termites.
Imagine my surprise when I found rivers of standing water around the piers and mold on all the floor joists.
The builder had installed french drains under the house but erosion from 14 years of run off has destroyed my grading under the house.
It has also caused major erosion on my houses block piers.

Im on a hill that is lower than my next store neighbors so guess what I get ALL the run off from both sides.

To make matters worse I find my one neighbor is a landscaper and is putting in swells and running culverts and french drains that see daylight onto my property. The owner before me dug a dry creek diagonally across my yard to catch the water that my neighbor is directing into my yard.
And when it rains this 150 foot dry creek actually has white caps from the force of water tumbling across my land.

I talked to the neighbor and he see's no problem with what hes doing.
Since Im on a hill the left side of my home is lower that the right.
So the foundation vents that are below ground level with bricks built around them that come up about one brick above ground level.
So his french drain thats connected to a swell in his back yard dumps all his run off against the side of my house and into my foundation vents.

I have a negative slope to the back of my property.
Its goes from a 50 to 10 foot slope to the back of the house from the 2 1/2 acres behind the property.
Its gets better, Im in the county and cant find anyone to help me.

Im ready to cut down every tree in my yard and start grading berms around the fence line and force the water back on his land where it can flow between our propertys to the street culverts.

It really sucks to be new in the neighborhood and start my relationship with a new neighbor this way.

I have so much water sheeting across my properly that the ground is peculating water like a spring in one portion of my yard for days after the rains.

How do I berm up the fence line for 2 1/2 acres across this guys side to stop all the water he is directing to my side.

How do I get an inspector on his private land to find out how he is collecting and diverting a freaken river across my land?

I am at a loss.

I have cause to sue for the drains I can blatantly see, but really don't want to start a new relationship with the neighbor this way.

God stupid inconsiderate people suck,

Any suggestions guys?

Thank you for your time reading my long dribble

Im already dealing with a property that has a 4 draw, so the extra water is killing me.


Last edited by stockpile; 09-24-2009 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 09-24-2009, 07:34 AM   #2
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welcome to arkansas, your on your own sucker


I'm no lawyer but I don't think what your neighbor is/has been doing to redirect water from its nature path onto your property is legal. Since he isn't concerned about what he's doing you will have to be. Might be time to get a lawyer since you've taken the neighborly path without success.

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Old 09-24-2009, 08:15 AM   #3
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welcome to arkansas, your on your own sucker


Not sure on the laws in your area, or exact laws
But pretty sure he can't do what he is doing
Get an Inspector out, take video during a down pur 1st to show him
Maybe the Inspector can have a nice talk with the neighbor & convince him the error of his ways & possible lawsuit he can face

Did you not inspect the property before purchase?
I crawled all over my house before I bought it & every house we looked at
Some brokers were quite surprised to see me with flashlight & working clothes going in the attic & other areas
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:38 AM   #4
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welcome to arkansas, your on your own sucker


stockpile said: “welcome to arkansas, your on your own sucker”

There is a political movement against “big government”. Too many taxes, given to too many bureaucrats, who turn around and tell us what we can and can’t do. We don’t have that problem so much here in Arkansas, at least on a local level. Across much of rural Arkansas, as long as one doesn’t adversely affect his neighbor, he may do as he chooses. That includes building a house where one should not be built or using ill-advised construction methods. Reduced red tape results in less construction cost and low home prices. The downside is that some homes will have major problems. Locals take this into consideration when buying a home.

So ‘stockpile’ has a problem. It would be interesting to compare the sale price of his “beautiful 1700 square foot home” with that of similar homes in other states. I hope for his sake the home price was low enough to justify the cost of dealing with the problem.

Despite the long post, there is little to suggest a solution to the drainage problem, if one exists. His mention of hills, the size of his property, and having a crawl space wood floor, all point to a good chance for a solution.

Arkansas, like most states, observes the Civil Law of Drainage. It is this law that should govern the actions of the land owners.

The philosophy of this body of law is to keep the status qou at the point that water flows across property boundaries. A landowner may change how water flows across his own property in any way he desires. But he may not change the location at which it exits his property nor the character of that flow.

A lower landowner is obligated to receive the natural flow of water from the higher property and may not act to block it.

There is nothing in the law that precludes multiple property owners from banding together for an agreement to change the drainage across their combined properties. Once in place, the new arrangement becomes what each owner, and all who purchase from them, must honor.

A violation of the Civil law of Drainage is a civil tort. An aggrieved party may sue for damages and/or an injunction to have the drainage change reversed to the condition before the change. The right to sue extends to all affected downstream or upstream owners, not just the adjacent owner. One who changes drainage without regard to their neighbors can learn a very expensive lesson. But all states have a statute of limitation and once the time has run without legal action, any drainage change made becomes the natural and normal flow that owners must honor.

Developers of land often start with a large tract. They often change the drainage across the land to suit their purpose. They may make as many changes as they want because they own all the land. That is, until there is a sale of part of the property. At that instant in time a new boundary is created and the drainage condition as it crosses that boundary is fixed as the status quo that both the new owner and the developer must honor.

The one action that ‘stockpile’ considers (a berm at the boundary) would violate the Civil law of Drainage. There is the cost of the berm, the removal cost, plus any damage caused to the neighbor.

There could be a legal action taken against the upland neighbor, provided you can prove that he has caused the water to enter your land at a different location than what it did in the past, and that this diversion is recent and not blocked by the statute of limitations.

Sadly, there is nothing I can recommend without a full knowledge of the property. Pictures would be helpful to better understand the problem, but a full and accurate base map will be needed to devise the most economical fix to the drainage.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:03 AM   #5
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welcome to arkansas, your on your own sucker


Quote:
Originally Posted by bob22 View Post
I'm no lawyer but I don't think what your neighbor is/has been doing to redirect water from its nature path onto your property is legal. Since he isn't concerned about what he's doing you will have to be. Might be time to get a lawyer since you've taken the neighborly path without success.
Im going to look into this option regretfully.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:08 AM   #6
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welcome to arkansas, your on your own sucker


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Not sure on the laws in your area, or exact laws
But pretty sure he can't do what he is doing
Get an Inspector out, take video during a down pur 1st to show him
Maybe the Inspector can have a nice talk with the neighbor & convince him the error of his ways & possible lawsuit he can face

Did you not inspect the property before purchase?
I crawled all over my house before I bought it & every house we looked at
Some brokers were quite surprised to see me with flashlight & working clothes going in the attic & other areas

The land was dry when I inspected the property, I thought yeah there is gonna be hidden problems.
I just wasn't ready for the unnatural flow of water that was covertly being redirected at me.
The drains the neighbor had directed at my house were under tarps with leaves over them. A good wind kinda exposed the deeds.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:47 AM   #7
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welcome to arkansas, your on your own sucker


pls8xx

Once I figure out how to load pics I will, I understand its hard to have a conversation about drainage issues with out a visual.

I was tired and admit I might of had a mini rant.

The owners before me were an old couple who never went in their back yard and let it grow into a thick inaccessible tick infested forest.
So it was really hard for me to understand what was going on till I started thinning out the brush.
When I bought the property my initial walk of back acres landed me 16 ticks

Because the land has a good elevation down to the ditches and culverts at the front of the road, I thought berms would redirect the flow of water down the middle of the property lines to the street.
And would be a remedy to the neighbor dumping his drains on my land.

I guess impeding the natural flow of water that's in the mix really does need to be taken into account
Your post has enlightened me to that fact. Thank you.
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:16 PM   #8
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welcome to arkansas, your on your own sucker


Sounds like one thing you might want to do is get a civil engineer to come out and give you some ideas as to what your options for fixing this once and for all might be rather than approaching it property by property. Perhaps you could come up with something that would resolve your neighbors' issues as well as yours if all of this were viewed on a more macro level. It would at least give you a talking point or two and maybe you could convince the neighbor the overall solution would be cheaper than a legal battle and possible resulting damages that might otherwise be necessary in this situation?

I guess the good news is that the property sounds beautiful and hopefully you will enjoy it once the warts are dealt with appropriately.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:06 PM   #9
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welcome to arkansas, your on your own sucker


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Sounds like one thing you might want to do is get a civil engineer to come out and give you some ideas as to what your options for fixing this once and for all might be rather than approaching it property by property. Perhaps you could come up with something that would resolve your neighbors' issues as well as yours if all of this were viewed on a more macro level. It would at least give you a talking point or two and maybe you could convince the neighbor the overall solution would be cheaper than a legal battle and possible resulting damages that might otherwise be necessary in this situation?

I guess the good news is that the property sounds beautiful and hopefully you will enjoy it once the warts are dealt with appropriately.


I had someone from the county come out today and his first words were call the District Attorney.
I think what you've suggested might be the route to go
Maybe if a civil engineer talked to this guy instead of outsider/woman he will take this a little more seriously.
I shudder at the thought of suing my neighbor, he built his house from the ground up 9 years ago, and I paid cash for mine which is only 14 years old.
I don't think either of us are planning on moving.

My first goal is to get the standing water out from under my house and stop it ASAP. Even if that means temporary berms along the side of my house. Im looking into foundation vents with fans built into them, this might lower the humidity and help with the mold problem on the joists.

still working on pics
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:14 PM   #10
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welcome to arkansas, your on your own sucker


Take as many pictures as you can of the work he has done too
Just in case he tries to erase the evidence

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