Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania

Demolition of an attached garage

My neighbor told me he plans to demolish his garage which is attached to mine. The garages are connected together behind our homes. They are not attached to our homes.

He warned me that it might cause damage or bring down half of mine..but he would warn me in writing and that was all he legally had to do.

Am I correct that if he does damage my garage in anyway, that he would have to pay for it?

Again, the garages are attached by a common wall. His and mine.

Asked on 3/24/06, 6:32 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Roger Traversa Arjont Group (Law Office of Roger Traversa)

Re: Demolition of an attached garage

Gee I like that concept. Maybe if I publish a notice in the newspaper that I may collide with someone's car then I can relieved of liability too.

Go up to your neighbor and slap him in the back of the head. Hard.

He is sooooooo wrong. There are a couple of concepts at issue, the first is simple negligence. If he damages your property then he will be held responsible for the resulting damage. Which would be measured by the costs to restore your property to it's previous status.

There is also a concept called lateral support. Most often this is applied to land in the natural state. If your neighbor excavated for a foundation or a pool. And that caused your land to slump and your foundation cracked then your neighbor would be responsible. Here the garages were built with a common wall. Whether this was done with permission or permissvely doesn't matter (i.e., the later garage builder wasn't told to tear it down). He is required to exercise all due care to maintain the support wall in the current condition.

If the wall is damaged thereby damaging your garage then he's responsible.

But then this is one of those matters where you need to work with your neighbor. Tell him he's wrong and that you do not accept his proposition. He must use caution and repair any damage.

Regards and good luck.

Roger Traversa

[email protected]

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Answered on 3/24/06, 7:30 pm

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