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Question DetailsAsked on 5/21/2011

Who's responsible for adjacent retaining wall on property?

There is a stone retaining wall dividing my property and my neighbors. His lawn is about 2 feet higher than mine and the wall holds it in. The wall runs about half of our property line, mostly next to lawn, but ending in a bunch of forsythia bushes and small trees in a small hill (~10 ft). This spring I noticed the wall falling down into my yard and I mentioned it to him. Moving boulders when I mowing was irritating and falling boulders not safe for children playing in the yard. He said he would fix, but I'd have to pay to remove whatever was next to the wall on my side (2 stumps we found under the bushes, the bushes, the trees, the hill). The wall behind the bushes isn't falling down, and the wall doesn't exist behind the trees, so he is looking to expand the wall. He found a quote for $1100 to do the digging and will do the wall himself. I had found someone cheaper but he didn't want the stumps grinded, he wanted them dug. I understand he wants to redo the wall completely, but do I have to pay for all this tree removal? He says the stump/tree roots are under the wall and need digging. I give him permission, what I can find on Massachusetts law says he can cut anything over his property line, but he says I have to do it. Any advice, or where to find advice? I don't want to pay $1100 for something I don't have to, but I want to keep goodwill.

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1 Answer


It is going to be an expensive job. BUT stumps are ground to about 6-12'' below grade. The machines, by far, don't go deeper. And it sounds like it is going to be a pain to get a stump grinder up close to do the complete root.

The idea of getting the stump pulled up out of the ground comes from not understanding trees and the use of the land. It will cost a lot of money to have a bobcat/excavator come into the yard mearly to pull out a stump. If you are having a new wall built, let the next contractor chip away at it.

Yes, keep the goodwill but it is not a safe situation, and it will cost even more money to have the property surveyed.

What part of Mass. do you live in? I know it is a year later but I can make some recommendations to get quotes from. If possible, at this point, both of you should be their when the contractor gives the quote so both can ask questions. Most of these companies sub-contract out the stump grinding (90% I know for sure) so you might want to expain the "rock" problem to a few tree companies and listen to what they have to say on the phone to educate yourself.

Answered 8 years ago by help1968

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