What is Neighborhood Law?
Neighborhood law is based on the famous “ the right of one ends when the right of the other begins ”. Thus, we have a paradox, since the right of one to make the right of the other prevail is limited.
In short, neighborhood law aims to establish rules and boundaries between neighbors so that everyone can have their rights protected. It does not create advantages, but avoids losses.
Situations that the neighborhood law regulates:
The Civil Code brings in articles 1277 to 1313, all the situations that regulate the right of neighborhood, namely:
- Abnormal use of property: when they exceed the level of tolerance, respecting their social function, good faith and good customs, disengaging from anything that affronts the health, peace and security of neighbors. It must be analyzed whether the act performed results from the regular exercise of rights or abuse of rights.
- Border trees: based on articles 1.282, 1.283 and 1.284 of the Civil Code , where trees that are on the boundary of the buildings will be owned by both owners, trees that have branches and roots that invade another property, may have them pruned without notification or indemnity for that (there is no legal provision), and the fruits that fall on the neighbor's soil belong to him.
- Forced passage: we are not talking about easement, we are talking about properties that are locked, without access or extremely dangerous or restricted access, for these hypotheses, compensation will be paid to the owner who allows the passage to be carried out.
- The passage of cables and pipes: whenever impossible, another way, trying to use it in the least burdensome way and at the expense of the interested party.
- Water: it is forbidden to prevent the water from flowing naturally, the neighbor is obliged to receive it, clean and usable.
- On the boundaries between buildings and the right of covering: a matter with understanding in the Superior Courts, since it is the right to surround, wall and protect property, however, without interfering in the property of others. We have the figure of the "half wall" which can be used on the boundary between the buildings, but with some fences, such as:
- Do not jeopardize the safety and separation of neighboring buildings;
- Do not place cabinets or similar works corresponding to those on the opposite side;
- Do not place ovens, chimneys, appliances and deposits susceptible to infiltration or interference harmful to the health, peace and safety of the neighbor and;
- Prior notice to the owner of the neighboring building, if there is any possibility of an affront to their peace.
- The right to build: the owner of a property or land has ample freedom to build on it, however, it must respect the limitations arising from administrative regulations, including municipal zoning laws, and the right of neighborhood, for example: a building cannot have the eaves of your roof dripping over the other property.
The acts that may harm any of the above mentioned species may be illegal – it comes from an unlawful act, violating the Civil Code ; they can be abusive – causing discomfort to the neighbor; and harmful – arising from causing some kind of damage.
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There are several actions that regulate property rights, including action for indemnity for neighborhood damage, announcement of new work, demolition, among others. And the Superior Courts themselves have been bringing news about ways to resolve these conflicts.
The most interesting thing is always to try to reach an amicable understanding with the neighbor about any problems that may arise in daily life, using only legal channels in cases where this resolution is not possible.
A good suggestion is to find an intermediary to solve this conflict, it can be the manager, another neighbor or even a lawyer who has a conciliatory attitude!