Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Help! I have a neighbour from hell (Part 3)

Published:Sunday | November 1, 2015 | 11:00 AM
Craig Francis

Good day, readers. My apologies for missing last week's publication. This week, we will complete the response to a question from a reader that was part answered.

Good day, Mr Francis,

After long deliberations, I am seeking your advice. I recently moved into my unfinished house that has been under construction for more than three years. I have one immediate neighbour.

I bought the property some 16 years ago. Since moving on to the property, I have been having problems with my neighbour.

First, he has the waste water from his washing machine channelled on to my property. In addition, he has dug channels around his house that, when it rains, take the water on to my property. He also has a temporary garage made of wooden posts and a zinc roof which encroaches on my property and disposes water from the roof on to my property.

I am at my wit's end with my uncooperative neighbour. I have asked him to remedy the problems and he has done nothing other than curse me. I even wanted to erect a wall, and he has said he has no money to contribute to half the cost of erecting the dividing fence.

-D.A.R.

To complete the answer to your question, I will look at the encroachment on your property and the unwillingness of your unreasonable neighbour to correct the problem.

Encroachment is a term which means 'advance beyond proper limits'. Essentially, it means that one person advances or violates his boundary limits by building something on the neighbour's land or allowing something to hang over the adjoining property boundary.

This usually happens when an owner is not aware of his property boundary or chooses to ignore the boundary. Note that the encroachment can be either a building (or its' eaves/cantilever) or even a dividing fence incorrectly constructed. So an encroachment means that you have violated a property that is not yours.

Your neighbour has advanced beyond the limits of his property and is now occupying a section of your property. He has no right to do so.

Now that you have identified that he has a section of his building encroaching on your property, I suggest you send him a letter, prepared by you or your lawyer, instructing him to remove the section of the structure that is encroaching on your property and give him a specific time to do this.

Also enclose a copy of the Surveyor's Identification Report issued to you, so that he can see that he is encroaching on your property. Please ensure that you give a copy of the letter to the police stationed nearest to you.

If he does not remove the encroachment by the date stipulated in your letter, then you can go about removing whatever structure is encroaching on your property. However, ensure that you inform the police and have them present when this is being done.

Ensure also that there is no damage to his structure as you don't want to do damage to his property and become liable.

So you may need to erect the post on his side of the property then remove the ones over your property. This will incur a cost to you; I suggest you add this to your claim that you will make against him in court for the water damage to your house and for his half of the cost of constructing the dividing fence.

I know all this seems a bit harsh, but this is how you are forced to deal with your neighbour from hell. I wish you all the best in your endeavours and that your neighbour reads this and realise the hurt he is causing.

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 craig_r_francis@yahoo.com or his Facebook page Precision Surveying Service.