3 Ways Your Neighbors Can Damage Your Driveway & What To Do About Them
In a perfect world, everyone would get along with their neighbors. But since the world is far from perfect, there are times when neighbors have relationships that could rival the Hatfields & McCoys. Sometimes, feuds between neighbors stem from one neighbor doing something to cause damage on the other neighbor's property, such as their driveways. Here are three examples of how someone can damage their neighbor's driveway and what you can do about it if it happens to you.
Tree Roots Cause Driveway to Lift or Crack
Problem: If your neighbor plants a tree close to your driveway, it can cause problems. Tree roots are strong and powerful, which can cause a driveway to lift or crack. As the tree roots continue to grow, the condition of the driveway will continue to deteriorate. A lifted driveway can cause an unsightly hump in the driveway. Cracks will allow water to penetrate to the subsurface of the driveway, which can cause more cracks. Obviously, if the tree was on your property you would have the option to cut it down and/or remove the troublesome roots, but you don't have these options when the tree is on your neighbor's property.
Solution: The tree root will need to be cut and removed so the driveway can be leveled and repaired. However, cutting a root system can damage the tree, especially if a root is a main feeder root because they absorb the water and nutrients that the tree needs to survive. This presents a problem because damaging your neighbor's tree could be considered destruction of private property. And, the last thing you'll need is for the tree to die and fall over onto your vehicles or home.
Hire an arborist to determine what type of roots are damaging your driveway before moving forward. Of course, since the tree is on your neighbor's property, you may not be legally able to go out and start hacking away at the root system. In this type of situation, it is strongly recommended to seek the guidance of a lawyer who will know the property laws in your specific area.
A Leaky In-Ground Swimming Pool Can Damage Your Driveway
Problem: When an in-ground pool has an underground leak, the soil becomes saturated. This can cause damage to your home's foundation and to your driveway. When the ground underneath the driveway becomes saturated, the driveway itself becomes unstable. Excessive ground water and poor drainage cause alligator cracks. Since the leak is coming from the neighbor's pool, you cannot simply repair the leak without taking the appropriate measures.
Solution: Contact your homeowner's insurance company to file a claim. Your insurance company will investigate and determine whether or not your neighbor's pool is leaking and causing damage to your driveway. Your insurance company will then pay for the repairs and recover the costs from the neighbor through his or her homeowner's insurance. When their insurance gets involved, they will likely require that your neighbor repairs the leaks in his swimming pool.
It's important to not take matters in your own hands and try to reroute the water, such as by digging a trench or installing a French drain. Doing so can cause your insurance company to deny your claim, which could mean that you'll need to pay for the repairs to your driveway.
Excavation On Your Neighbor's Property Can Cause Your Driveway to Collapse
Problem: When soil is excavated, the surrounding areas are no longer supported by that soil. This is called lateral or subjacent support. Without this support your soil can collapse, which is what happened to a resident of St. Catharines when his neighbor excavated beside his driveway.
Solution: If your neighbor excavates close to your driveway, do not park your vehicle near the excavation site. Call the code enforcement office in your town or city and ask them to come to your property to assess the situation. They will likely have a structural engineer evaluate the property as well.
File a claim with your homeowner's insurance if the officials determine that your neighbors created a safety hazard that affected your driveway. The ground near and underneath your driveway may need to be stabilized with concrete footings. Of course, this will mean that your driveway will need to be repaired afterwards. Contact a company like Lakeridge Paving Company to get started on driveway repairs.