2012-04-05

Being flooded by your neighbour

Flooded tree Articles in this section are of general information and in every situation are subject to the application and interpretation of a law, rule or factual situation that may differ. Consult us for any specific question.

Your neighbour built a house and raised his land, or he deviated the bed of a creek crossing his property and yours, result: his ground water flows and floods your property. Do you have a recourse?

Yes.

Section 979 of the Civil Code of Quebec regulates this situation:

"Lower land is subject to receiving water flowing onto it naturally from higher land.The owner of lower land has no right to erect works to prevent the natural flow. The owner of higher land has no right to aggravate the condition of lower land (...)"

The land does not necessarily need to be adjacent or contiguous and the person may even be a third party. However, only the waters which flow naturally and not those of occasional flooding are covered by this section.

The owner of a higher land can erect works regarding the water flow but can't aggravate the condition of the lower land. However, before starting any works, it is recommended to consult an expert such as an engineer.

And if you ever suffer from the works made by your neighbour, consult a lawyer to consider instituting a proceeding to make cease this annoyance.