Neighbouring Premises Law
Law offices’ practice shows that it is not always easy to live in and have good neighbourly relations. Thus it happens quite frequently that there are doubts and uncertainties when it comes to the scope of the rights and obligations which neighbours have with respect to each other.
- Disputes can already arise if the precise boundaries of a lot are not known for sure, or when a missing/displaced boundary stone is to be newly positioned. In cases like these the parties will then be faced with the question as to who is to pay for the costs which are arising for the renewed survey of the boundary concerned.
- Frequently neighbours will also disagree on the permissibility of the installation of a fence, of a sight barrier or a similar enclosure of a lot. As a matter of principle every neighbour has the right to build a fence, a wall, etc on his land. As long as the neighbouring land will not be used for that purpose there is no need for the neighbour’s consent. If, on the other hand, the fence is to be erected directly on the boundary line of the premises this will be permitted subject to the neighbour’s consent. If the neighbour will agree to the erection of the enclosure both neighbours will be responsible for the maintenance and repair of the fence in equal shares. In cases where the wall of a building - a so-called boundary wall - is located directly at the boundary of a lot, the owner of the premises on which the building is located will also be responsible for the maintenance of this boundary wall. The legal situation may be different in the case of a so-called common wall, that is to say of the wall of a building, which is located directly on the boundary line of a lot.
- Quite often nuisances such as noise and smells or odors which will not stop at the boundary lines will be the cause of disputes between neighbours, such as it may also be the case if a neighbour’s stereo equipment booms late at night, when a sputtering lawn mower is used on Sundays, or in cases of permanent garden parties, continuous barking of dogs or the „stimulating„ odors of a compost heap. In all of these cases it is necessary to individually study the given situation while at the same time also taking account of the special local conditions and situations in order to be able to clarify whether an emissions which has its source in the neighbouring premises is in non-compliance with statutory rules and regulations.
- Other issues which may be a source of dispute are the type, the extent and boundary distances which are to be respected in the case of greenery which is planted along the boundaries of a lot. Also branches of trees which hang over a neighbour’s boundary line, roots which grow into the neighbour’s lot, falling leaves and flying seeds are frequently a source for disputes between the owners of neighbouring premises.
- Finally it happens time and again that situations arise which need to be clarified as they call for a neighbour’s entering of his neighbour’s adjoining lot. The allowance of a way of necessity or the removal of a building structure which projects over a neighbour’s boundary line are legal problems which are part of the daily work in a law office.
If neighbours’ relations are not to be affected or impaired by long years of litigation it is to be recommended to consult a lawyer who is specialized in tenancy and condominium law issues in order to have him clarify the neighbours’ mutual rights and obligations.