How close can my neighbour build to me?
Good day, readers. Thanks for your responses to the column the last few weeks. This week I will respond to a question from a reader.
Q: Good day, Mr Francis. I read your article in today's paper (Sunday May 24) and I am just curious. What is the restriction between private properties in St Andrew, and does this restriction remain the same when building more than a one-storey building? For example, if it is 10 feet, can someone legally and without permission from the neighbour build two storeys 10 feet from the boundary?
A: Thank you S.B. for reading A Matter of Land and taking the time to send me your question. You have said restriction between private properties. I assume you really meant to the boundary, and that distance would have to be multiplied by two to get the distance between the buildings of adjoining properties.
NO ONE STANDARD SETBACK FOR PARISHES
First, let me say there is no single determined or prescribed setback distance for buildings in St Andrew - or any other parish for that matter. The setback distance will vary from community to community, development to development, and, in some instances, from property to property.
The setback distance for a property is determined by what the restrictive covenant of that title stipulates. So you can have two adjoining properties and the setback distances are different as one title may have been done before the other or different time periods.
However, in particular communities the setback for the buildings are normally homogeneous as the development would have been done by the same developer and there would be a stipulation from the local authority, in this case the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC). While there is no standard setback distance for St Andrew, the KSAC will have a minimum that it will not grant approval for a setback below that distance.
SETBACKS MUST BE
MAINTAINED AT ALL TIMES
The setback stipulated in your registered title in the restrictive covenant must be maintained irrespective of how high you go vertically (one, two or three stories). So if, as you proffered, the setback distance of 10 feet is what is required your neighbour can construct his two-storey building ensuring that his setback from the boundary is 10 feet. This should be to the eaves of the building unless stated in the restrictive covenant that the eaves are not to be considered as part of the building.
PERMISSION REQUIRED FROM THE LOCAL AUTHORITY
So the answer to your question if they can build the two stories 10 feet from the boundary is yes. You also asked if the person can build legally and without permission. They can build legally and without permission from you or a neighbour, however, they require permission from the KSAC or the local authority that governs their parish or municipality. To build legally you require permission from the local authority, in your case the KSAC. If the two storey has been built without the permission of the parish council your only course of redress is to report it to the KSAC.
If the person has constructed and has breached the setback distance as stipulated by the restrictive covenant on their title then again you have no course of action but to report it to the KSAC. Once there is no encroachment on your property, you essentially have no recourse, as the breach would be on their property and only someone with an interest in the property can address same.
That would be a mortgage company if the property is under a mortgage or the parish council which is the regulatory and planning authority.
I again urge all property holders to observe and obey the restrictive covenants on your titles.
Keep sending your questions and comments and let's continue to explore A Matter 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or his Facebook page Precision Survey