Is my neighbour too close?
This week, we have a question sent in by a reader. Next week, we will have your questions answered by Acting Registrar of Titles Cheriese Walcott. We will also use the month to feature the newest female commissioned land surveyor, Sherine Williams-Chin. Below is the question and subsequent response.
Dear Mr Francis,
I am sure I speak on behalf of many readers of this column when I say it has been a real eye-opener. It has helped me to be aware of things about my property that I did not know. For that, I am thankful. I am now having a situation that I need some clarity and advice on.
I believe there is an eight-foot distance that should be between neighbours. When I built my house, I ensured that this was the case. Now that the adjoining property to mine has been sold, the owner has begun to erect a dividing wall, which is approximately four feet wide and shared equally. It has reduced the space between the house and the boundary by two feet. Does this constitute a breach? If so, what are my options to have the matter resolved? Also, how high should a dividing wall be?
Good day Wayne,
First, I thank you for your kind words. It's good to know that A Matter of Land is assisting you and other readers. There are some aspects of your question that are not clear, however, I will respond to you in the best way possible. You started by stating that the distance between the buildings is to be eight feet. I presume that each building is to be four feet from the boundary.
However, I must ask you if this is written in the restrictive covenant? You need to find out if this is actually the distance written in the title. I find a four-foot wide wall excessive. Why is it so wide? I also need to know if it is your house that is closer to the boundary by two feet. My first advice to you would be to get a copy of your title and check on the restrictive covenants and see what the required distance is from the boundary. Then, I strongly suggest that you contact your land surveyor and have him prepare a surveyor's report for you. This will highlight any breaches or encroachments that may exist on the property.
Then from there, you will know the appropriate steps that are to be taken. You would know that if your neighbour is too close to his boundary wall, it's his breach, and once he doesn't encroach on your space, it really doesn't affect you in terms of getting a loan, etc.
How high a dividing fence can be is again a matter of what is stipulated in the restrictive covenants. However, four and a half feet is most common, but check your restrictive covenants on your title to be certain.
I know I have been very general with the answers because I need more information, but I hope what I gave helps you.
Keep sending your questions and comments and let's continue to explore A Matter of Land. Until next time, traverse well.
- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at email@example.com or his Facebook page Precision Surveying Services