It starts with the rumble of dump trucks and bulldozers early on a Saturday morning, right next to your house.
While some may see it as progress, you see the ongoing work next door as a nuisance and a potential invasion of your land borders and property rights.
And what’s worse? You returned home from work the following Monday, and you saw that a brick had dropped through a chimney stack, hit an impediment, and then burst through the plaster in your wall.
There’s also the noise, dust, debris, and vibration to contend with.
You don’t want to start a feud with your neighbor, but you also don’t want your property rights to be trampled in the process. What can you do?
Continue reading to find out what are your rights as a neighbor if your house gets damaged by the construction.
Neighbor’s Construction Has Damaged My Property: What to Do?
When you see the damage to your property, here are things you should consider doing:
- Notify your neighbor so that they know the damage and the time you first noticed it.
- Do your research: If the contractor carries liability insurance, the damage should be covered. In any case, obtain the contact information for the construction business or contractor so that you can communicate directly with them as well as their insurance company.
- It’s also a good idea to document the damage using photographs. Also, make sure to provide dates and times.
You see it’s the construction company’s or contractor’s legal responsibility to maintain the job site safely. As professionals in the field, they should be aware of the most up-to-date safety precautions that keep your neighborhood and you safe.
Because you have no say in who your neighbor picks for their construction job, your neighbor bears the risk of picking a shady and untrustworthy contractor or construction firm. Unfortunately, if your property is harmed, you may be forced to face the weight of their poor decision.
Construction Next Door is Shaking My House: What to Do?
A case history confirms that a nearby house can be affected by construction. Machines, equipment, and tools used in the demolition of buildings and remodeling of homes can produce shaking that cause damage to surrounding homes.
You might see cracks in your walls that you didn’t notice before the construction job next door started.
Because of the shaking generated by the building next door, your utility systems or systems may have been altered or disturbed. If you discover any of these things right away, you’ll need to seek legal help to recover your losses.
The general contractor, the subcontractor who caused the tremors, your next-door neighbor’s policy, or your own homeowner’s or building owner’s policy are all possible sources of compensation.
The following are some of the potential consequences of shaking buildings:
- Roof collapse or other structural damage;
- Foundation sinking or cracking;
- Interior wall and floor cracking;
- Utility outage or disturbance that could result in damage to electrical, gas, water, or plumbing systems.
If you experience shaking from next door as a result of their construction, you will almost certainly need to file a claim to recover any losses incurred as a result of the shaking.
Even if you do not see any damage as a result of the shaking, you must notify your neighbor or the project’s general contractor so that they are aware of the shaking and can avoid major harm in the future.
Can I Sue My Neighbor For Property Damage?
Yes, as long as you have evidence of the damage pointing to your neighbor. Property damage disputes are fairly common in small claims courts.
When a problem emerges, consider doing these:
- First step: Contact the neighbor who caused the harm. It is fairly simple to do if you have an ongoing relationship with this neighbor (and worthwhile to do since your relationship is at stake).
- Allow them to empathize: Have them try to put themselves in your place to see how you feel; this will help them comprehend why you want to be compensated for the harm they’ve caused.
- State the deal: Tell them you’ve had estimates to repair the damage so they don’t think you’re coming up with a number off the top of your head. If they don’t pay you, it’s time to take matters into your own hands.
Make a point of saving all evidence of the property damage.
If you decide to sue your neighbor in small claims court, you must first request the return of your money or property before filing the complaint. While you can ask for your money or property back orally, it is recommended that you do it in writing via a demand letter.
Should My Neighbors Take Consent For Construction?
The answer is a resounding YES! Of course, your neighbor should get your consent before starting any construction job.
You won’t want to find out over a cup of coffee…or when construction workers emerge out of nowhere. It’s lawful since certain building authorities require signatures from neighbors before giving a permit for any construction work.
Get this: If you instantly offer neighborly approval with your signature, you are waiving any legal rights you may have against your neighbor’s building permit application.
So, before signing anything, double-check that your rights as a property owner are preserved.
You should also be aware that certain building standards for neighbors may allow you to legally prohibit or stop a construction project if your neighbor did not obtain your consent before beginning construction.
As a property owner, you must be aware of your rights, and learning about the basic building approval process may be beneficial. It will prevent infringement of your rights if you are informed of your rights and how to assert them.
Neighbor’s Construction Damaged My Car: What to Do?
1. Any damage to your property caused by your neighbor’s construction should be reported to your neighbor first before proceeding. After that, they’ll decide whether they or the construction contractor will bear liability.
If your automobile is damaged while parked, it is almost certainly a comprehensive claim under your auto insurance coverage. However, in this case, your neighbor could be held accountable for the damage to your vehicle. The damage would be covered by their homeowners’ insurance’s liability coverage.
2. If their homeowner’s insurance carrier refuses to pay, you have the right to sue them in small claims court to determine who is responsible for the damage.
Given the unintended nature of the damage, it is expected to be a civil case rather than a criminal one. They are, nevertheless, still responsible for the damage and should be held accountable.
Debris From Construction Falls on My Property: What to Do?
Dirt, dust, and debris are a nuisance and/or an annoyance to your quiet enjoyment of your home, and they may also constitute a physical trespass upon your property.
What to do?
1. Get proof: As evidence, keep thorough records of your losses, including the amount of time and money spent clearing up the debris. Debris can sometimes cause structural damage to your building.
2. Take action: If you’ve mentioned the problem to the contractor or owner of the construction and they haven’t done anything about it, you can file a claim in small claims court.
While small claims court is a quick way to get a monetary award, a restraining order or injunction in civil court may be required to protect your health and peace of mind.
What Are My Rights as a Neighbor During Construction?
The building authorities are in charge of ensuring that projects follow building codes for safety and soundness.
This means you are entitled to financial compensation if your property is damaged, as you should not be forced to pay for someone else’s error. If the contractor isn’t insured, your neighbor’s home insurance, as long as they have liability coverage, may pay the damage.
You’ll be far better off hiring an attorney than dealing with the problem on your own if they don’t have coverage or don’t have enough coverage. Thankfully, an attorney will be familiar with property rights and insurance rules, he/she will fight to ensure that you receive the money you are entitled to.
How Do I Protect My Property From Being Damaged During Construction?
A contractor undertaking work on a property is responsible for protecting the structure from the elements and any harm caused by the proposed work.
Here are the steps to take to ensure your property’s safety:
- If possible, speak with your neighbor and the contractor about maintaining the surrounding property’s structural integrity.
- Ensure they provide all necessary shoring, temporary supports, and security provisions to safeguard adjacent property and occupants from how they plan to protect your property.
- Most jobs necessitate permits, which must be displayed where they may be seen. If there aren’t any, it’s a good idea you document the state of your home before the construction starts.
Finally, if a building project damages your property, you must notify your neighbor (the owner of the property under construction) or the contractor.
The damage to your property should be covered by your neighbor’s homeowner’s policy or the contractor’s liability insurance, depending on who will take responsibility for the damage.
It’s also a good idea to keep track of your property’s condition. Taking photos with timestamps is a good approach to do this.