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  1. #1
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    May 2020
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    Default Who is Responsible for Retaining Wall

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: California

    We live in single house, located in Daly City, CA. we have an adjoined side fence and retaining wall (located in backyard) between mine any my neighbor need to be repaired. Who pays for the retaining wall? I've been told you split it 50-50 and my neighbor is being told that we are solely responsible for it because we are on the higher ground.

    the wall is to prevent the soil from going to his side. I think this is beneficial on his. of course, it is important for both us. so I told my neighbor to split the cost 50/50. but he refused.

    if we look at the line between two house, the wall is built on his house side. but I am not sure it is property line.

    I don't think this is worth for hire land surveyor but it costs few thousands to 10 thousands dollar which is same price as replace the whole wall.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Who is Responsible for Retaining Wall

    Quote Quoting raynghw
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    if we look at the line between two house, the wall is built on his house side. but I am not sure it is property line.

    Then you are wasting your time talking about who fixes it if you don't know for sure on which property it is built.

    Meantime, there are a few sources in the following search results that address California retaining walls.

    https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffhp&q=Cal...all+law&ia=web

    If you aren't willing to pay for a survey and you can't get your neighbor to share in the cost then your other options are to pay for it yourself or ignore the situation and potentially spend tens of thousands on defending against a lawsuit when the wall collapses and his property is flooded.

    Because the answer to CAN you be sued is always yes. It's the outcome that cannot be predicted.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Who is Responsible for Retaining Wall

    Quote Quoting raynghw
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    My question involves real estate located in the State of: California

    We live in single house, located in Daly City, CA. we have an adjoined side fence and retaining wall (located in backyard) between mine any my neighbor need to be repaired. Who pays for the retaining wall? I've been told you split it 50-50 and my neighbor is being told that we are solely responsible for it because we are on the higher ground.

    the wall is to prevent the soil from going to his side. I think this is beneficial on his. of course, it is important for both us. so I told my neighbor to split the cost 50/50. but he refused.

    if we look at the line between two house, the wall is built on his house side. but I am not sure it is property line.

    I don't think this is worth for hire land surveyor but it costs few thousands to 10 thousands dollar which is same price as replace the whole wall.
    If the wall is actually built on the property line, then the CA good neighbor fence law applies.

    You should be able to get a single boundary survey for a lot less then a few thousand dollars.

    Assuming that the wall is built on your neighbor's property and you are the uphill side it means that natural lateral support was removed from your property when the wall was built. So if the wall was built because your neighbor (when the property was graded) wanted to level his yard he had to replace the lateral support to your property by building a retaining wall. The common law and statute doesn't allow a downhill property from removing lateral support without replacing it. It would be important to know when and who built the wall. Do you know if your property and your neighbor's property were developed by a developer at the same time? That could be a clue that the wall is on the property boundary.

    There are a few other concerns that you would have to address depending on who's property the wall is on. Since you are the uphill property (and depending on how high this wall is) you would need to get permission from your neighbor to enter upon his property to rebuild the wall. That is usually done through a temporary construction easement.

    There are enough issues for you to consult with a local land use attorney before you decide what has to be done.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2006
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    16,202

    Default Re: Who is Responsible for Retaining Wall

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    If the wall is actually built on the property line, then the CA good neighbor fence law applies.

    You should be able to get a single boundary survey for a lot less then a few thousand dollars.

    Assuming that the wall is built on your neighbor's property and you are the uphill side it means that natural lateral support was removed from your property when the wall was built. So if the wall was built because your neighbor (when the property was graded) wanted to level his yard he had to replace the lateral support to your property by building a retaining wall. The common law and statute doesn't allow a downhill property from removing lateral support without replacing it. It would be important to know when and who built the wall. Do you know if your property and your neighbor's property were developed by a developer at the same time? That could be a clue that the wall is on the property boundary.

    There are a few other concerns that you would have to address depending on who's property the wall is on. Since you are the uphill property (and depending on how high this wall is) you would need to get permission from your neighbor to enter upon his property to rebuild the wall. That is usually done through a temporary construction easement.

    There are enough issues for you to consult with a local land use attorney before you decide what has to be done.
    Its equally possible bud that the retaining wall was needed to build up and level out the yard of the upper home.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Who is Responsible for Retaining Wall

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    Its equally possible bud that the retaining wall was needed to build up and level out the yard of the upper home.
    If that were the case, then it would be the other side of the property that would have the wall built by OP. Think about it. You don't add fill to level out your uphill property. You cut and fill. Meaning that what you cut uphill you use as fill on the downhill side.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Who is Responsible for Retaining Wall

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    If that were the case, then it would be the other side of the property that would have the wall built by OP. Think about it. You don't add fill to level out your uphill property. You cut and fill. Meaning that what you cut uphill you use as fill on the downhill side.
    Huh? We aren't talking about a retaining wall at the bottom end of a property, we are talking about a retaining wall on the side of a property.

  7. #7
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    May 2020
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    3

    Default Re: Who is Responsible for Retaining Wall

    I just want to clarify that this is built on side in between both house backyard. should this be common boundaries? like the fence on top of it?

    thank you for reply.

    for the single boundery survey, do you have any suggestion? I have ask land suveryor that I found from well-known website and grovt website. they are only interested in commeerical bc I think they can charge more.

    the lowest I find is 2900 but it maybe more if it need more information.

    since this is lateral support (assume it is on the sharing property line), who is going to repair it?

  8. #8
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Who is Responsible for Retaining Wall

    Sure where ever two properties meet is a boundary. It doesn't matter if it is a side yard or a back yard.

    Call surveyors that are local to your area. If you can find the surveyor that did the original survey on your property, they already have what they need in their files to determine where the property line is between you and your neighbor. It would only be a matter of staking the line. It shouldn't cost that much.

    If the wall is on the property line (50% on each property) you both are responsible for the maintenance of it according to the statute linked in a previous post.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Who is Responsible for Retaining Wall

    Have you tried looking for the corner pins on the property from the original survey marking? Before having to pay someone to pinpoint the line, you'd at least have a starting guess as to whose land the wall is on. (Even so, if the wall was built for a dig out to level the lower land, I'm not sure it matters whose property side it is on.)

    Around here the front pin is usually 10 feet in from the road edge on the property line, to give you a starting point. A metal detector can help if a little digging around in brush or grass doesn't turn it up.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Who is Responsible for Retaining Wall

    Quote Quoting SubjacentSupport
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    Have you tried looking for the corner pins on the property from the original survey marking? Before having to pay someone to pinpoint the line, you'd at least have a starting guess as to whose land the wall is on. (Even so, if the wall was built for a dig out to level the lower land, I'm not sure it matters whose property side it is on.)

    Around here the front pin is usually 10 feet in from the road edge on the property line, to give you a starting point. A metal detector can help if a little digging around in brush or grass doesn't turn it up.
    the wall is adjoining on both backyard. so not road edge. you can imagine that the wall is under the fence and the fence is the shared fence. but that wall is needed to repair. the wall is partition for both property.

    I have a thought that the backyard on the up hill can be built without that wall, but for the low hill, in order to keep his backyard, the wall has to been built. so when the house and backyard is built, the wall should be built by the lower hill.

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    Sure where ever two properties meet is a boundary. It doesn't matter if it is a side yard or a back yard.

    Call surveyors that are local to your area. If you can find the surveyor that did the original survey on your property, they already have what they need in their files to determine where the property line is between you and your neighbor. It would only be a matter of staking the line. It shouldn't cost that much.

    If the wall is on the property line (50% on each property) you both are responsible for the maintenance of it according to the statute linked in a previous post.
    as i have mention, i have tried the website home advisor and the website provided by the accessor clerk of san Mateo county. and call those land surveyor for a quotation. but they quote me over few thousands.

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