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Posted: 5/11/2021 9:38:53 PM EDT
Neighbors have created some runoff issues with the construction of their house.  Their and slopes towards mine (and my other neighbors' lots) and we get tons of runoff from them, to the point of flooding.  

Before they built, we never had problems like this.  We would get some runoff and the grass would stay wet for a few days but it is now to the point of flooding other neighbors' yards.  

Without MS Paint, I will try to explain.

Imagine a lot with X elevation.  From the street, my neighbors' (to my right, from the street) yards are X-1, X-2 and X-3 feet elevation.  Directly behind me (only me, imagine the "L" piece in Tetris), the neighbors now have X+8 feet in elevation.  Before they graded to build their home, we had minimal trouble with runoff from the lot.  Since they have graded, their lot now channels the water into my yard and the neighbors' yards.  

They refuse to do anything to fix the runoff problem.  

What I'm hoping someone can find is a NC Statute that addresses this.  I've searched time and time again with no result.  I'm convinced that there must be something like this in NC law or building codes.  I'm coming up blank.  

Can anyone point me in the right direction?  If so, beers are on me if you are in my neck of the woods.
Link Posted: 5/12/2021 6:01:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/12/2021 7:44:36 AM EDT by rebel_rifle]
You have several options here.

First, start off with the NC DEQ. Go to their website and start looking for how to address violations. You should also be able to file a complaint about the neighbor as well. If the runoff is adding discolor (muddy) to the area and area streams, they should be all over that.

Next, go to your county/city building codes if they have any, I know some of the smaller cities/counties can be weak. Make sure he has pulled all applicable permits, etc. If he hasn’t, drop a dime on him.

Document, document, document. Take pics, videos, etc. Especially if you have before pics.

The only way you correspond with this neighbor is via texts or emails, again document. Anything said orally is not going to be backed up in court, if you end up there. And that is my next thing, this is a civil matter and you and the others may have to end up suing him. At least there’s more of you to share the attorneys fees. But be prepared, it could be years before you get any money or corrective action via the court system.

ETA: OP, what city/county you in?
Link Posted: 5/12/2021 8:20:58 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rebel_rifle:
You have several options here.

First, start off with the NC DEQ. Go to their website and start looking for how to address violations. You should also be able to file a complaint about the neighbor as well. If the runoff is adding discolor (muddy) to the area and area streams, they should be all over that.

Next, go to your county/city building codes if they have any, I know some of the smaller cities/counties can be weak. Make sure he has pulled all applicable permits, etc. If he hasn’t, drop a dime on him.

Document, document, document. Take pics, videos, etc. Especially if you have before pics.

The only way you correspond with this neighbor is via texts or emails, again document. Anything said orally is not going to be backed up in court, if you end up there. And that is my next thing, this is a civil matter and you and the others may have to end up suing him. At least there’s more of you to share the attorneys fees. But be prepared, it could be years before you get any money or corrective action via the court system.

ETA: OP, what city/county you in?
View Quote


I had forgotten about DEQ.  Thank you for reminding me of that.  

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, the runoff does not appear to be adding any mud into streams or drains.  Back when they were grading, there was a fair amount of mud deposited on my property but the house 3 doors down was at least ankle deep in muddy water.   I would tend to say that was a pretty rare event since we got an historic amount of rain when that happened.

I'm pretty familiar with how civil court plays out, especially the part about hearsay.  If it isn't in writing, it never happened.  I can't even count how many rental property owners I've seen get beat up by that in eviction court.  (I'm not a lawyer.  I'm a soon-to-be ex-landlord and I did all but a few of my own evictions)  I'll say there is no love for these people and I feel fairly confident they would lose in court but, at this point, I would prefer to not start hiring lawyers.  They're the only ones who would win.   And the neighbors would absolutely refuse to make any corrections.  The husband would be willing to do the work but the wife would shut that down.  She's one of those horribly spiteful people who always want to play the victim because she's foreign.  The reality is, people don't like her because she's just a jerk.  

There is a shed that had no permits pulled, so that may get brought up at the appropriate time.  Other than that, all the other permits seem to check out.  They have the certificate of occupancy for the house and the other permit was successfully completed and signed off by the county.  

This is one of the few times I'm glad to be in Charlotte.  Code Enforcement here doesn't screw around.  In my experience, they almost seem eager to find violations.  The only downside is, there are so many structures being built, they may not have time to get around to dealing with this mess for a while.  

I am planning to call the city engineer's office this morning as well as the building permit office just to see if I can learn anything from them.   We'll see what happens.
Link Posted: 5/12/2021 8:39:22 AM EDT
You are absolutely correct on the attorney part. That would only be as a last resort for me if I was in the same position.

Being as you are in Charlotte, you should have more leverage with .gov behind you, at least in theory. City/county engineering is a good start, runoff affecting those downstream is a big problem everywhere.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 5/12/2021 11:14:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/12/2021 11:14:58 PM EDT by baxt3r]
I'm going to let this one sit for a little while until I can get the affected neighbors on board.  I'm the least impacted by this and I'm not going to fight their battles for them.    


Mods, you can delete this thread if you're so inclined.  @DV8
Link Posted: 5/15/2021 7:58:22 PM EDT
DEQ....beat by several days.
Link Posted: 5/15/2021 10:48:06 PM EDT
Charlotte has an active environmental and erosion control dept.
they could be your first go to as far as storm water and any sedimentation issues.
Might try them first.  DEQ will prob send you to them since they’ve delegated that program to Charlotte.  Mecklenburg co has their own storm water program too that might help.  
On site, if you can’t get that runoff diverted around you, you can try to slow it down with compacted berm and some shrubs or a grass lined swale.  Kinda depends on your terrain and how much you want to do.  Water always runs down hill and will find its low spots.  It can be directed or slowed down tho.
Hope you get it worked out.
Link Posted: 5/17/2021 11:26:21 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By baxt3r:
I'm going to let this one sit for a little while until I can get the affected neighbors on board.  I'm the least impacted by this and I'm not going to fight their battles for them.    

View Quote


The angle you need to approach the more affected neighbors is that it will only get worse the longer it goes on. It will also be harder to go back on the offender if these same neighbors put up with it for months and years.

As others possibly build in the area their runoff will add to the current offender making it worse (likely) and then the process of sorting out who started what begins.

I know there are people who don't want to "rock the boat" as they say, but letting it slide will come back and bite everyone in the ass. I have seen it happen.
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