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Property question - neighbour carrying out renovation work


Our neighbour is carrying our extensive renovation work to his house. Our front garden shares the exterior wall of his property.
He wants to repoint this exterior wall. This means setting up scaffolding on and allowing access to our property for three weeks. The scaffolding will block access to one side of our house. The work will also destroy our garden: to put up the scaffolding he will have rip out our shrubbery and the chemicals used for the pointing will kill off any remaining plants etc. in the surrounding boarders.
We’re seeking advice, but in the meantime, does anybody have experience with something similar? What are our rights are concerning:

Requesting compensation for damages to our garden and general nuisance?
Our insurance liability should one of the workers fall or be injured?

Obviously it’s an annoying situation but I think that as it is the wall of his property and it’s not shared by our house he has a right to carry our the work…
Thanks in advance.

MeHa Sep 15, 2016 13:36

In order to carry out 'extensive renovation work ' Planning Permission is needed.
http://be.brussels/working-and-doing-business/doing-business-in-brussels... and some other links from that page.
You can also ask your commune as he may be doing illegal work if permission was not asked for.
Good luck

kasseistamper Sep 15, 2016 13:59

Whether or not you live in Brussels, I cannot believe that repointing a house requires planning permission. It is routine maintenance which may be required over the lifetime of a building - most commonly to a wall facing the prevailing wind and rain.
Also, as repointing involves scraping out old mortar and replacing it, I don't think any chemicals will be used.
It must be possible to erect scaffolding without having to rip out your shrubbery and to put a cloche or something similar to protect your other plants. There is bound to be some damage but I think you are very much looking at a 'worst case scenario' here.
Double check with your insurers but I'm sure that you will have no liability for injury to the workers. And you can ask about any claim you might have for any damage that is caused to your garden.

MeHa Sep 15, 2016 14:47

We do not know the level of work being done.
You do not need planning permission for maintenance and repairs to your property, as long as the work does not materially affect the external appearance of the property.
For example, re-pointing walls using the same finishes is not a material change, but using a different material, or changing the roof tiles from clay to concrete is a material change.

anon Sep 16, 2016 09:39

As you note, "he has a right to carry out the work". However, he doesn't have any right to destroy your garden. If he does any work, then he also has to return your garden back to you in the state it was before any work started. My suggestions are as follows;
1) Go out today into the garden and take LOTS of photo's of the garden and the wall showing the condition of both.
2) Explain to neighbor that any damage done to your garden will have to be repaired.
3) Consider going along to the commune to the "urbanisme" department and asking their advice. (It's possible they may have a standard contract for neighbors in a situation like this?)
4) As others above has suggested, you should speak to your insurance company and let them know, they may even send an expert to take a site report.

Anonymous Sep 16, 2016 14:51

For exterior work one needs to obtain written planning permission from the authorities and your property has to be 4 metres apart from the other persons property.

kasseistamper Sep 16, 2016 15:37

What is your basis for this belief?
Does it apply in every commune in the country?
What happens if your property is not 4 metres apart from another person's property?
I have neighbours on both sides of my detached house and neither is anything like 4 metres away. I have had exterior work done and there has never been any suggestion of my needing to obtain written planning permission from 'the authorities'. I cannot believe that anyone who needs to have routine maintenance carried out on the exterior of their home has to apply to their commune before starting. Three damaged tiles on your roof and you have to get permission before you can stop the rain coming in. Are you sure?

Anonymous Sep 18, 2016 14:17

Government authorities told me that these are the new rules and regulations throughout Belgium.

CC_R Sep 20, 2016 08:30

Hi Spelyn I presume your neighbour has been round to talk about this which is why you are informed. I would point out to them your concerns about insurance and your garden first and see what their response is. If this wall is shared it's in your interest they maintain their part. As clarely we don't see the plan it's hard to advise. What compensations did your neighbour suggest for your lack of access?

CC_R Sep 20, 2016 08:32

What compensation did they suggest for damage to your garden. Maybe get a gardener in and get an estimate to remove and then replant after the work and remove and damaged soil then present that to your neighbour and say that you select them to make food your garden.

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