Success Story: Neighbors Must Compensate Clients for Unreasonably Refusing Repairs to Shared Structure

Clients came to Owens / Pinzelik, P.C. in a dispute with their Neighbors regarding necessary repairs to an elevated parking structure shared between their southwest Portland hillside homes.  The structure was subject to a recorded easement agreement that obligated both sides to contribute equally to the cost of repairs.  Neighbors had agreed to honor this obligation when both sides believed repairs were only needed to the parking surface.  Once the contractor removed the parking surface, however, and discovered substantial rot and other deterioration of the support structure itself, Neighbors refused to pay for any further repairs on Clients’ “side of the property.”  Clients were then left living with a giant hole outside their front door that forced them  to park on neighborhood streets, sometimes more than 300 feet from their home, and limited the access to their home to a small catwalk over the construction site into their garage.

After it became clear that Clients alone would be unable to sway Neighbors to do the right thing, they retained our attorneys to initiate arbitration, as required by the easement agreement.  Following a proceeding made lengthier and more contentious by Neighbors’ failure to see reason or to cooperate in the exchange of evidence, Clients prevailed in arbitration.  Though it is impossible to make up entirely for the emotional toll of this ordeal on Clients, they received an award that will see them fairly compensated for moneys they advanced for Neighbors’ share of construction costs and for the loss of the use and enjoyment of their home, while allowing them to finish the needed repairs.

UPDATE: Our attorneys were able to facilitate an agreement between Clients and Neighbors under which Neighbors not only paid Clients a significant portion of the financial award without the need to seek judgment and enforcement options but Neighbors also deposited in escrow their half of the anticipated costs of the remaining repairs to be disbursed at Clients’ direction on completion.