When does a neighborhood case make sense?

The dispute over the garden fence keeps the judiciary busy. Every year, around half a million cases are brought before the courts, where disputes about neighboring rights and legal issues are involved. The topics of the procedures range from A for distances at property lines to G for sounds of babies crying, party noise or musical instruments to Z for branches that hang too far. The neighborly relationship offers numerous triggers for emotional disputes and even small wars until the last instance. In this article we address the question in which cases there is no alternative to a neighbor action. In doing so, we deal in particular with the matter of a property owner wanting to take action against the neighbour’s building permit, and what legal options there are if there are significant disturbances such as emissions or other dangers from a neighboring property.

Who exactly is “the neighborhood”?

Neighborhood protection requires neighborhood. But what determines what counts as a neighbor and what doesn’t? The circle of recipients is limited both spatially and personally. In common usage, the term “neighbor” often refers only to owners of adjacent properties. The right of neighbor is not limited to this group of people, but includes different groups of people, according to the circumstances in question. For example, when it comes to planting trees, neighbor means only the immediately adjacent property owners. In the case of immissions such as fine dust, the effects of noise from a sawmill, from vehicles on road or rail, from an airport, the light from a projector system, radiation caused by lasers or even flying sparks from a fire, a much larger spatial area of ​​the neighboring protection , which is touched. For example, all persons who own property located in the flight path of an airport belong to the vicinity of the airport and not just the property owners immediately adjacent to the airport property. In the field of emission control law, the impact on a property owner is always crucial to the question of whether someone is part of the “neighborhood” and can complain of a violation.

What is the difference between private law and public law neighbor protection?

The Private Neighborhood Act regulates the relationship between two neighbours. Property owners sometimes have to tolerate certain disturbances or impacts from a neighbor, or can prevent various restrictions on their property rights themselves.
In addition to the affected neighbors, the public law neighborhood law also includes the administrative authority (e.g. the competent building law authority). It is not just a two-way, but a three-way relationship. The special thing is that there is no direct legal relationship between the neighbours, as is the case with the private right of neighbour. The legal relationship exists only in the relationship between the respective property owner and the respective administrative authority. Many are now probably wondering why this is important. Here is the answer: This circumstance has significant implications for the measures that an affected neighbor can take against his neighbor’s activities.

In which cases is it advisable to file a public law case against neighbors?

The disturbed neighbor must file a complaint with the competent administrative authority about his violated neighbor’s rights. Because only the administrative authority can issue or revoke the corresponding administrative acts. This is, for example, the case if the competent building law authority has granted the other neighbor a building permit, and the affected neighbor sees his neighbor’s rights violated by the building project. The reasons for this can be different, e.g. because the use of the property planned by the neighbor is contrary to the development plan, or the construction project will mean other unacceptable effects. If a construction on the neighboring property has harmful environmental impacts or other dangers, and the responsible management authority refuses to take action against it by e.g. removal order, it may also be advisable to lodge a complaint with the neighbours. If the administrative authority does not give in of its own accord, a complaint must be brought before the administrative court.

We are your competent advisers for problems related to neighborhood law!

Are you wondering whether you have to put up with a neighbour’s construction project or are you afraid of unreasonable restrictions due to the concrete construction work? Do you want to know how you can take action against a building permit that has already been granted to your neighbor? Or are you massively disturbed by a neighboring property and wondering if and what you can do about it? We are your competent and committed contact persons for questions regarding neighborhood law. This legal case is complex and contains a number of pitfalls. As lawyers with many years of experience, let us advise you. We support you in clarifying the question of what legal options you have in your individual case and talk openly and transparently with you about the possibilities and risks of a possible lawsuit. Before you are hired, we will talk to you about the costs of our work, so that you can consider in advance whether you want to use legal support or not. Existing legal protection insurance often covers the cost of legal advice. If necessary, we will clarify for you in advance, free of charge, whether the legal aid insurance covers the costs.

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