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Neighborhood Disturbances : An Update On the Rules

Posted by Michel on May 4, 2021

You don’t always choose your neighbors, just as you don’t always choose your family. Everyone has been willing to pay the price of living in a neighborhood of people who do not share their opinions on different aspects of life. Divergences that can result in a significant disagreement or cause discomfort. Let’s take a look at the circumstances that the law considers to be neighborhood disturbances and that which lead you to file a complaint of right before you carry out your personal vendetta.

The concept of neighborhood disturbance

The first thing to understand is that there is no rule that defines neighborhood disturbance. Where justice is sought, it is founded on Civil Code article 544, which states that “property is the right to enjoy and dispose of things in the most absolute manner, except that one does not do so.” not a usage that is forbidden by statute or regulation.”

Since then, the Court of Cassation has decided that “no one can cause others to disrupt an abnormal neighborhood or even surpass the neighborhood’s usual inconvenience” (CC, Civil Chamber 2, of November 19, 1986, 84-16.379.).

As a result, the quiet enjoyment of your home is a privilege that no one can take away from you. However, being close to others fosters a necessary respect for others’ needs and choices. It’s a matter of deciding whether an act or circumstance has become sufficiently dangerous to warrant intervention as a public disorder.

Normal vs abnormal disorders

With each case brought before the courts, it is important to determine if the nuisance is caused by an abnormal condition or simply by the complainant’s inability to tolerate it. Mowing the lawn during the week and during the day, for example, is perfectly legal and cannot be used as a basis for a complaint: this is a common neighborhood disruption that the neighbors can view as a nuisance. It’s important to strike a reasonable balance between the need to mow and the peace and quiet that neighbors are entitled to.

Another issue that is often brought up in court is the loss of sunshine on a plot as a result of the neighbor’s excessively tall vegetation or the construction of a new house. Every case will be looked at separately to see if the shade is really interfering with the neighbor’s ability to enjoy the sun in their backyard. Since the rules cannot be absolute: even if a tree is planted far from the property line, it will cause harm to the surrounding area, which would be condemned by the competent court.

The preventive rules of neighborhood disturbance

Neighborhood Disturbances

The Civil Code and case law – or, failing that, local governments directly – have enacted laws for working together in order to avoid recourse to the courts as much as possible.

Noise-generating operations are also restricted after 10 p.m. on weekday evenings and on Sunday afternoons. Article 671 of the Civil Code also states that plantations must maintain a certain distance from neighboring fences, which ranges from 50 centimeters to 2 meters depending on the type of plantation and is also subject to local laws. Article 673 also encourages plant owners to prune their branches so that they do not encroach on neighboring plots.

For any such more complex situations, such as the possession of a specific animal, the conduct of a problematic task, or everyday life in the apartment above, the courts will rule on the character. abnormal or not of the condition found on a case-by-case basis. Some people’s freedom ends where another person’s begins, but we can’t stop our neighbors from living normally, even if it affects our own peace of mind.

In the vast majority of cases, it is better to pursue a conciliation rather than an expensive and time-consuming court action. And the cited laws are subject to the judge’s decision, who will determine if the nuisance is really detrimental to the plaintiff. To use the shady tree as an example, it cannot be felled if the neighbor’s land still has enough light. When it comes to neighborhood disturbances, common sense still wins out, so be cautious before complaining!

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