Neighbor is Refusing to Help Repair Flood-damaged, Moldy Shared Wall

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“I live in an attached house that got flooded, and i removed the drywall and insulation and mold in my basement but my walls can not dry, because my neighbor refuses to take care of his walls and mold problem, what if any is my legal recourse?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

It sounds like you have what is often called a “party wall”; that is, a single wall which is part of two structures. Generally speaking, when party walls are created, there is also a party wall agreement that goes along with it, and specifies each owner’s rights and responsibilities with regard to that wall. It might be a separate agreement, or in the case of a larger development it might be part of the development’s governing documents.

In either case, the first place to look for your legal rights regarding this neighbor would be that agreement. If you have no such
agreement, or if the agreement doesn’t cover this situation, then you are left with general principles of property law. Arguably, your neighbor is causing a nuisance, and possibly a trespass (of the water which leads to the mold), either of which could be the subject of a suit for damages or an injunction.

As a practical matter, I would suggest having your attorney draft a firmly-worded letter first before jumping to a lawsuit. That gives your neighbor some wiggle room to come around, and may save you the cost (in both time and money) of the lawsuit.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.