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What are your rights when it comes to nearby construction?


The building next door can be a nuisance, but homeowners and renters have options when it gets too disruptive.

Neighboring construction can be inconvenient and construction can sometimes continue for several months, causing excessive noise or even property damage to nearby residents. Whether you have a neighbor who loves to tackle DIY home improvement projects or you live in an urban area with frequent building, most state and city laws state that you have a right to the quiet enjoyment of your property.

Here's what you should know about dealing with neighboring construction and steps you can take if it becomes too much.

What are your rights when it comes to nearby construction?

Read More: Selling a house in Washington

What are my rights when it comes to building a relative as a homeowner?

If your neighbors are renovating their home or building a garage, they should do so in a way that does not spoil the quiet enjoyment of your property.

The first step you can take is to approach your neighbor and point out the annoying construction noise. Ask that work be done at certain times of the day or give you notice of excessive noise.

City laws establish acceptable decibel levels throughout the day if there is construction nearby in your area. If there is excessive noise or construction continues outside those hours, you have every right to file a formal complaint with your local police department.

What are my rights when it comes to building nearby as a tenant?

As a renter, your options are usually more limited when it comes to nearby construction disruptions, says Ben Farrow, an attorney at Anderson Law Firm, a law firm that provides LegalShield services. If there are constructions within the building, you can check the lease or building regulations for more information regarding construction hours. Building construction is usually limited to between 9am and 5pm, but this varies depending on your city's ordinances.

However, the best thing you can do is talk to the landlord, condo or co-op about construction noise. The owner can show you a vacant unit away from the noise of construction or notify residents when noise is expected.

If construction noise continues to impede the quiet enjoyment of your apartment after reasonable measures have been taken, you may be able to proceed with a constructive eviction and termination of the lease. A breach of quiet enjoyment can also occur if construction prevents you from accessing your home.

Depending on where you live, the landlord may be liable for a full or partial refund of the rent you paid during this time. Not all state laws specifically address construction eviction lawsuits. In this case, you may have to take your case before a judge to present your arguments.

What if your property is damaged during construction?

While nearby construction can be noisy, it can also lead to potential property damage. Depending on who is financing the construction, a private developer, local government, or even your neighbor can be held liable for any property damage during construction.

For example, Farrow says that if your neighbor cuts down a tree and it falls on your property, your neighbor bears full responsibility for any damage. "If a subcontractor cuts down the tree and it falls on my property, I have a claim directly against the negligent subcontractor and directly against the landowner for renting a logger who doesn't know what he's doing," says Farrow.

You must also file an insurance claim if nearby construction results in property damage. “We ask people to file a claim on their homeowners insurance because your insurance wants to make sure you are happy and continue to charge that premium,” Farrow adds. "The downside is that you will pay your opponent but you can get your opponent from your careless neighbor and logger."

If construction damages your apartment unit, it is a violation of the implied warranty of habitability. This is a guarantee that the rental property meets basic living and safety standards for the duration of its occupancy. If the landlord is unable to remedy the damages within 30 days, you can terminate the lease and move out.

Source: Best Places to Live, Real Estate Tips & Advice for Buyers ...