During Hurricane sandy, my house in New Jersey was damaged by my neighbor's house, which came off its foundation and washed onto our property - it is now resting there - we have asked them to promptly move it, but they have thus far refused until they work out their insurance issues - what rights do I have to either (a) force them to promptly move it, or (b) move it at their expenses?
1 Answer from Attorneys
The textbook law is to the effect that a property owner is responsible to keep foreign objects from his property from coming onto his neighbor's property. Your neighbor is responsible for any damage that his house has done, for the cost of removal, and for the loss of use of your property for the time that his house interferes with your use of your property. However, as a practical matter, extraordinary caution is in order in asserting those rights under the current circumstances. Your neighbor will at least be a sympathetic defendant. There may also be administrative and executive emergency orders that require notice, etc. and which may override the common law of property. On the whole, I think that your rights are secure. However, I would not advise you to do anything that would expose you to liability while you have alternatives. There may also be ways that you can help your neighbor to help you. Your options ought to be discussed in confidence and with the protection of attorney-client privilege. If you want to discuss the matter further, my contact information is linked to this reply.
See also: http://info.corbettlaw.net/lawguru.htm