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What are our rights? Our new neighbour wants us to take our lapa down PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 November 2012


Another excellent question from one of our readers who is facing a set of problems with her neighbour's new build.

I need some information please.

We have got an existing lapa with a Council-approved plan.

Our neighbour subdivided his yard and the new owner built a house right next to our existing lapa, right at the boundary wall. Now they are complaining that no company wants to insure them and they have requested that we take our lapa down.

What are our rights? Our lapa was there years before they started building and they knew the lapa was there when they drew up their house plans.

The other thing is they didn’t level their ground before they started building and nowhere on their plans does it show that their house will be so high - now the house is much higher and they look straight into our yard and onto my pool.  All our privacy is gone. We have requested that they raise the wall because of this and they refuse. What can we do about this?

There are also ten builders that stay there and sleep over and they keep on standing on my wall looking at what is going on at my house. This is really a concern and my neighbour refuses to raise the wall.

Les has replied as follows:

The answer is quite simple. With approved plans, your neighbour can't force you to move or remove your Lapa so if their insurance does not like it, there is not much that they can do about it. He should have built his house further away from the boundary.

The second issue is that because the boundary wall is on your side, it is entirely your prerogative to do what you like with it and you can build it up yourself without his permission. You can probably build it to a height of 1,8m (in some areas, 2,1m) measured from ground level on his side of the boundary but I would get a local structural engineer to advise you on this issue as there may be stability problems with a higher wall. Because the wall is on your property, your neighbour is not allowed to do anything to it without your permission and he has no say on what you do to it. He is also not obliged to do anything about it because of the fact that you gave your permission for him to build what he has built.

The next point is that if your neighbour is using your wall as a retaining wall to support the higher ground on his side, then that could be a problem unless the wall was designed as a retaining wall which I somehow doubt.  If the wall has not been designed as a retaining wall and the higher ground level requires that such a wall should be built, then he would have to build a retaining wall on his side of the property boundary at his cost in order to retain the higher ground level. He may not use your wall to retain the ground on his side. Again the opinion of a structural engineer would be necessary.

I doubt very much that the builder is allowed to let his workers sleep on the premises. It is not generally permitted by any municipality but they sometimes do turn a blind eye. The legal standpoint is that only a security guard may stay on the premises overnight.

I hope that you find this useful. If you require any further information, please let me know.
 


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Last Updated ( Friday, 02 November 2012 )
 
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