Squabbling between neighbours is a situation that can make people laugh at the theater and in the movies, but in reality it can horribly poison the lives of the people involved. The Civil Code has established rules of conduct to ensure the maintenance of good relations between neighbours. Once the land surveyor has done his job, the ball is in the hands of the neighbours to come to an understanding. Here is a sample of these rules.
Access to Property
You must allow your neighbours access to your property if they need to cross it to erect a building, to carry out repairs or to carry out maintenance work their own property. The latter must, however, notify you orally or in writing.
Let’s say you have erected a building in good faith that mistakenly lies on part of your neighbour's land. Your neighbour has the right to ask you to remove this building or to buy or rent the plot of land on which it is erected.
Protecting the Property of Others
You must carry out all repair or demolition work necessary to prevent the collapse of any building or structure on your property that threatens to fall on your neighbour's land or on the public road.
Let’s say you have a beautiful tree that adorns your property. Your neighbour has the right to ask you to cut branches or roots that extend to his house and that threaten to crash on his property or cause him major problems.
The Installation of a Fence
If you and your neighbour want to build a fence on the line separating your land, you can share the construction and maintenance costs. You will also determine together the characteristics of this joint fence: its height, its color, the materials needed to manufacture it and the appropriate accessories.
Installing a fence precisely on the boundary that separates you from your neighbour remains the best way to interpret any ambiguities that could arise from the titles or the cadastre in your favour, even if you have to compromise on the characteristics of the fence. If you decide to install your fence anyway, and at your own expense, make sure that all parts of the fence are on your own property, even the concrete base buried underground. Also make sure that landmarks or stakes are always visible to avoid any confusion between the line imposed by your private fence and the actual boundary of ownership. Indeed, in the absence of bench-marks or boundary markers, the neighbour might end up believing that the fence corresponds to the property line. This is how the vast majority of property arguments get started.
To learn more about the installation of a dividing fence between neighbours, read this 2014 La Presse article in which Benoît Péloquin is quoted.
The Right of Views
It is prohibited to install transparent glass windows or doors within 1.50 m of the boundary of the neighbour's land, in order to respect their privacy. However, a dormant window (which cannot be opened) with translucent glass is allowed.