Neighbour boundary issues

31 posts in this topic

We live in a semi detached house.  A few days ago, our neighbour approached my husband about the placement of his new shed he wanted to place where his now removed dividing hedge used to be. In the whole area, there is now only his new paving connecting to our paving.  Between the houses, there is a border stone 8cm wide.  He asked if the back of his shed can instead of bordering the edge of the stone on his side, can it stand on top of the stone.  He and his father in law very much bulldozed (they were quite hostile) my husband into agreeing by saying that their hedge was formerly in that place so doesn't make any difference to us and access to the back of our shed that is currently placed 50cm from the border. My husband did say that as the slope of their shed is angled towards our drive, they would have to provide a suitable rain water gutter and collector.  They hadn't thought of that though agreed it necessary.  As they were asking for only an 8 cm favour, my husband agreed.  

 

So, they placed the new shed on top of the borderstone. Without our awareness, they then added another roof part that overhangs a few centimeters and then another corrugated metal roof layer on top of that that overhangs even more.  The promised guttering would then add more.  The whole top area would be around 20cm over our border.  

 

We've since checked out the regulations and see that a 50cm distance from the border is necessary.  After last nights torrential rain, we can't even see how guttering flow away can go anywhere other than onto our drive and under our shed as there is no longer any unpaved area for natural drainage.  

 

We are of steeling ourselves for a likely unpleasant conversation with them. Our worry is that they will say that we agreed to that albeit under pressure, so tough.  Do we have the right to reverse a verbal agreement given that we had no opportunity to think about it, check regulations, nor consider the drainage implications. And of course, they have overstretched what was agreed to anyway with the roof overhang.  

 

Any advice would be much appreciated.

 

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Write to you neighbour... tell them that they havent made suitable provision for water drainage as agreed, therefore you request that the shed is placed completely on their property as in accordance with the BauAmt regulations.

 

Simple...

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Thank you both...do you think that my husband's boundary verbal agreement made under duress (the shed was already mostly assembled at the borderline although exceeded afterwards), can be in considered binding?

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I think if you were to talk to them asap and say you understood that part of it would come to the boundary, but not that it would overhang by so much? That way you are not going back on your under duress agreement to it, but equally you do not expect it to be encroaching on your garden, therefore please move it, then if they do not agree then you can go to the bauamt and they will have to move it further back.

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I'm not a lawyer and I can't give legal advice, but I believe that property contracts in Germany have to be notarised to be legally binding.

Your husbands 'permission' was no more than a conversation over the fence and should have no legal force, but even if it did, they have gone beyond the permissions they were given.

 

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10 hours ago, emkay said:

... saying that their hedge was formerly in that place so doesn't make any difference to us...

 

A hedge is not the same as a shed shedding (sorry) water onto your paving, so it does make a difference. (And how would they know their hedge was not causing you grief? Maybe it was...)

 

Problem is, enforcing your rights is likely going to cost you good relations with your slightly dim neighbours. They will resent the hassle of having to shift their shed for the sake of 20cm and some rain water.  Even if they move the shed, the rain water may still drain onto your property. Tricky.

 

Would be nice if there is a law saying border stones have to be free standing and visible.

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A neighbour of mine was accused by the hausverwaltung in a nearby building that he had placed his shed partially on their property.  He got some amt to come and look for the stones and proved that not only was the shed fully on his property, his property was also much bigger than he'd thought.  Of course that can backfire too.  Maybe your property is smaller than you thought.

 

So I don't know in this case if you should have expected the roof to well overhang your property line if the bottom of the shed was a bit over the line.  You may not have realized but maybe you should have.

 

I think they do have to do something about the water problem though.  Could they hook up the drain from their shed roof to a rain barrel which overflows into a garden hose pointed to somewhere in their garden?  A friend has two rain barrels hooked up to his shed.  One overflows into the other.

 

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57 minutes ago, optimista said:

and some rain water.

 

a lot of rainwater is commonly known as a flood. This could be a really massive issue.

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Thank you all for your advice.  Just in case this helps anyone else in a similar situation, I rang the Bauamt (Hesse rules apply)...the neighbour can place a shed with its back wall on the boundary, no minimum distance applies.  And, it's also fine that the roof overhang and guttering overhangs the boundary. What is absolutely not permissible is for water to drain onto our property.  The neighbour has to make good provision to collect rainwater and dispose it on his property.

 

Oh dear, this neighbour has stirred up another hornets nest. The old lady next to us has just called me asking for help...the shed man has just carried out a lot of garden reconstruction. Part of which was to pave lots of former grassed area.  I don't know what it's called though a very loud heavy machine was used to press down the paving.  She claims that during this process, several pictures fell from her indoor walls. As a result, her indoor staircase that is attached to her wall next to the new paving has cracked making the steps lose. Also, on the outside of the same wall area, the shed man has affixed a very large heavy duty wooden trellis...probably also led to her wall cracking. He claims her husband gave him permission to  carry this out last year.  The poor man died recently and there's no way he would have even been able to have such a conversation during his illness. 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, optimista said:

and some rain water

 

Some rain water ... do you live in a house or an apartment?   If you live in a house then I assume you haven't deal with rain water issues.    "Some rain water" in the wrong area in our property will end up in flooding our cellar.   Been there, had to deal with that.

 

But it is just rain, you might say.   Yes, but there is a big difference between rain coming directly into the ground and a bunch of water accumulated from a roof and coming out all together in a single point with some current.

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Glad you got a clear answer from the  Bauamt emkay. Re: your neighbour, I would advise her to call her insurance and have them sort it out. 

 

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Beware of bulldozing neighbours. Most people are nice and reasonable (and wouldn't even make such a request), but your neighbour sounds like the type who will rip your arm off if you offer him the little finger.

Good luck for your discussion with him.

 

Not sure what the Bauamt means by it's ok to overhang. What if you placed (or wanted to place) your own shed with its back to the property line back-to-back with his shed? He'd have to stick to the boundary then. I would just tell him that this is a lot more than your husband agreed to - or your husband tells him that and points out that you weren't a big fan of his agreement in the first place ^_^

 

And what Krieg said. Depending on the type of soil and where it runs down, "a little water" can cause a lot of damage.

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18 minutes ago, Krieg said:

 

Some rain water ... do you live in a house or an apartment?   If you live in a house then I assume you haven't deal with rain water issues.    "Some rain water" in the wrong area in our property will end up in flooding our cellar.   Been there, had to deal with that.

 

But it is just rain, you might say.   Yes, but there is a big difference between rain coming directly into the ground and a bunch of water accumulated from a roof and coming out all together in a single point with some current.

 

True, directed accumulation is much worse.  In our situation, our celler window is only about 30 cm away from the downslope of the neighbours new shed.  I imagine the drainage in the window Schacht within the weiße Wanne isn't designed to handle significant volume/accumulation .  

 

Interesting to see that our neighbour has just started to attach the gutter...he can barely fit between the 2 sheds.  Wonder how he's going to deal with the flow away.  

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10 minutes ago, maxie said:

Beware of bulldozing neighbours.  

 

That's very true...seemingly, there's quite a big feud going on amongst a few neighbours behind our house, including shed man.  

 

It does seem odd that overhang is apparently ok...in a country with rules about rules, where hairs are often split multiple times.  If he provides a satisfactory drainage solution, we're likely to leave it at that. We wouldn't of course if it were any kind of permanent structure.  The less we have to do with the feuding neighbours, the better. 

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10 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

Watch where he is  directing the water with the gutters.

 

He's just doing the back horizontal part at the moment. Just eavesdropped him talking to another neighbour's architect (they are all very 'keep up with the Joneses' in the feud triangle)...big loud talk about 'Schlauch/Abstand this and Schlauch/Abstand that'. 

 

Fortunately, we can't actually see anything from our property unless we peer around the corner. We have to mind that my husband doesn't have even more stress about this given his heart issues.  

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2 hours ago, emkay said:

 I don't know what it's called though a very loud heavy machine was used to press down the paving

It's called wacker plate in English, or a Ruettelplatte in German.

Unless he was using a really heavy duty machine, it's unlikely it would have cracked the wall. A more likely culprit could be the fixtures used to attach the wooden trellis. Perhaps the "injured" neighbour should take some photos of the damage, and also invite the "damaging" neighbour to see the problem. That way, perhaps they could agree on a solution, rather than force her to escalate the matter to the relevant authorities or even lawyers. I'm sure that the injured neighbour's husband would not have agreed to the damaging neighbour doing any damage he saw fit to their wall.  

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