Remodel & Renovate in Queens>Question Details

James L, Home Buyer in 11373

Can I remove a retaining wall which supports my neighbors land so I can widen my driveway? Who is fiscally responsible for building the new wall?

Asked by James L, 11373 Wed Nov 23, 2011

The retaining wall which supports my neighbors land is located three feet on my property (yes, I have survey showing it is on my property). My driveway is very thin and I would like to take down the retaining wall, level out the three feet of land and expand my driveway to the property line. Who is responsible for putting up the new retaining wall and whose property does it go on? It is a single family house located in Queens, NY.

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I feel like it's not as simple as it seems. I imagine that there are building codes or zoning issues that you're going to have to deal with. Also, you're going to want to talk to your neighbor about the whole thing before you get started. Talk to a company about it as well and get some quotes and advice. http://www.alistonpaving.com/en/residential.html
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2015
pARDON ME, BUT THE VERY FIRST THING YOU SHOULD DO IS SPEAK WITH AN ARCHITECT. HE WILL KNOW THE BUILDING CODES, EASEMENTS, RESPONSIBILITIES ETC. THAT IS PART OF WHAT THEY DO.
I WILL ALSO SUGGEST YOU TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION HOW MANY YEARS YOUR NEIGHBOR HAS HAD THIS ARRANGEMENT. PROBABLY FROM BEFORE HE BOUGHT THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR. UNLESS YOU CANNOT FIT YOUR CAR IN THE DRIVEWAY, I WOULD RECOMMEND YOU LEAVE THINGS AS THEY ARE. YOU DON'T WANT AN ANGRY NEIGHBOR LIVING NEXT DOOR UNLESS YOU HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE, OR YOU MOVING OUT IN THE NEXT YEAR. NEIGHBOR FEUDS CAN ONLY BE RIVALED BY SIVORCE, BUT IN THAT CASE YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE PERSON. IF ONE OR BOTH OF YOU HAVE CHILDREN IT CAN GET EVEN UGLIER AND IT IS JUST NOT WORTH IT. GOOD LUCK WHATEVER YOU DECIDE.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 6, 2012
Removing a retaining wall is never a good idea.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
IF you're permitted to do so by local building codes, you'd be responsible for taking it down. (It's on your property, according to you. That makes it yours.) But there often are zoning and easement restrictions that say, for instance, that you can't put up a wall within x feet of a property line. So, perhaps, the wall is as close to your property line as it's permitted to be.

And you'd be responsible for putting up the new wall. (Presumably the new wall would be at the edge of your property. You'd have no right to build anything on your neighbor's property.)

And you'd be responsible if there were any negative consequences--such as some of your neighbor's property collapsing because it lacked sufficient support.

You might want to talk to your neighbor about this--about your plans and possible cost-sharing.

Also, talk to a real estate lawyer who can advise you on the issues covered above.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 23, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
MVP'08
Contact
Check with the local building's department for any permit issues before considering the idea, and do have a discussion with your neighbor beforehand...
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/html/contact/contact.shtml
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 23, 2011
Hi James, since you already know the retaining wall is on your property-I would speak to your neighbor and see if you can come up with a plan together.....if you take it down- normally you should be putting back up. Maybe you can work out a deal where you can share the cost...but if your property is level- the neighbor is the one that needs the retaining wall on his property. You probably have gotten some prices-not cheap I'm sure. You should consult with your attorney if you cannot resolve this with your neighbor. Make sure your contractor gets you all the proper permits. Many Blessings to you and yours! Happy Thanksgiving. Terry K 718-614-3167 cell or email therese.korahais@elliman.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 23, 2011
James, I think you need to consult your county or town on this one, as well as a General Contractor and structural engineer. Although the wall is on your land, not only could removing it cause significant damage to your neighbors land, but it could pose a huge problem for you if there is a landslide (since you said it was "supporting" your neighbors land.)

You could also start by calling the title company or survey company that performed the survey to see what they say.

Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 23, 2011
check with building dept code , consult a professional engr/archt, do not take this task upon yourself, you may be subject to property violations, and this is not a small job, thank you
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 23, 2011
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