Can my Neighbours guttering overhang my property?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can my Neighbours guttering overhang my property? We will discuss the importance of gutters and what to do if your neighbours guttering overhangs your property.

Can my Neighbours guttering overhang my property?

Legally speaking, you own the airspace above your land, thus your neighbours guttering should not overhang on your property and they are trespassing. 

In accordance with the Code of Laws, any owner of a building is obliged to provide a system for evacuating rainwater from his roof so that it flows either to:

  • his own land,
  • public roads.

It is therefore strictly forbidden to evacuate rainwater on the neighbouring property (even if you hate your neighbour).

When the construction is built on the property line, the law imposes a so-called “roof sewereasement. Its purpose is:

  • to oblige the owner to install gutters on the roof of his construction, by assembling the whole to a creeping gutter;
  • to define the place of evacuation of rainwater by preventing it from flowing onto the adjoining property.

One should avoid letting the gutter protrude on the neighbour’s property because the latter would be entitled to require its removal. In some cases, however, depending on the configuration of the land, especially when it has a significant slope, the owner has the right to let the water flow onto the neighboring property. 

This is a legal easement and the law is valid for:

  • rainwater,
  • snowmelt,
  • spring water.

On the other hand, certain flows are not authorized, such as water:

  • Used water,
  • House sewage,
  • Industrial residue.

The owner of the land located below a neighbouring property cannot prevent the flow of water on his land. It is thus formally prohibited:

  • to build a dam preventing the flow of water from the neighbouring land,
  • install a bypass to return water to the field upstream.

Note: any owner who would circumvent the rules of the easement would engage his responsibility. He would be condemned by the courts to pay damages for non-compliance with the rules of servitude.

What to do if your neighbour’s gutters overflow on your property?

As in all neighbourhood disputes, always start with a friendly remedy. Call your neighbour and explain the problem. If your words have no effect, send a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt to your local city council. 

If the trouble continues and can’t be solved amicably, you will be assigned a mediator. This service is free and you will find the list of conciliators in the town hall. If you do not agree, you must go to court.

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Gutters and neighbourhood: what to do and what not to do

By collecting rainwater, the gutter protects the facade and the foundations of your home. It is therefore an essential roof element to put in place if you want to make your house sustainable.

 Installing a gutter is good. Even better to pose it in accordance with the law. The installation of a gutter is no exception to the rule and is subject to certain regulations that it is useful to know in order to avoid any disputes between neighbours.

What the law says about gutter regulation

According to the Rainwater Capture Act of 2012, any owner of a building (house, garage, etc.) must ensure that the rainwater that flows from the roof of his property first flows into his own garden or onto public roads. 

In addition to rainwater, water from melting snow, hail and ice falling or forming naturally on a property is considered to be rainwater.

In addition, this same law specifies that this rainwater can flow naturally onto the neighbouring land. Indeed, the flow following the natural slope of the land, the neighbour located below will therefore not be able to oppose receiving this water (except modification of the land in order to worsen this flow).

So there is no need to worry if his house is built in the middle of the field. The problem then arises when the construction is located on the property line.

An easement is a constraint on one property for the benefit of another. In this specific case, the roof sewer easement, also called the overhang easement, is imposed on you by law if the rainwater from your property falls not on your land but on that of the neighbour. You will then be required to install a gutter to retain water on your property.

These gutters must not protrude onto the neighbour’s property. In this case, the latter would then be entitled to require its removal or even a modification of your roof. 

However, if your installation has been overlooking your neighbour’s land for more than 30 years and they have never expressed their dissatisfaction, they will no longer be able to demand anything.

The case of fuzzy property lines and neighbours guttering

It sometimes happens that the exact limit between two properties is not known with certainty. In this case, the part of the land above which the gutter is located is considered to belong to the owner of the dwelling concerned. So the neighbour taking the rainwater on their property will not be able to say anything.

However if your neighbour manages to prove the contrary by notarial deed or by judgment, the presumption of ownership of the land no longer applies and you will be obliged to take measures so that the water no longer falls on his land.

If more than 30 years have passed and both parties have accepted this situation without saying anything for 30 years, the easement is acquired. If your gutters have been overlooking your neighbour’s land for 30 years and he has accepted this situation, without ever saying anything, he can no longer ask you to modify your roof overnight.

Likewise, if you find yourself in the situation where your neighbour’s gutters are encroaching on your land, think before you endorse this situation. And if you do not accept this state of affairs, always do so by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt in order to set a date.

Problems often arise when changing neighbours. What one has accepted, the other can refuse! It will be up to you to prove that your aligners have been positioned in this way for 30 years.

Conversely, if you buy a property and you decide that your neighbour’s gutters do not have to encroach on your home, let them know quickly and always by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. The limitation period begins on the day of installation of the gutters and not on the day of your purchase.

Final thoughts

In order to avoid litigation, an overhang easement can perfectly be set up between neighbours. So everyone will know their rights and duties.

In practice, this means that your neighbour allows you to have your gutter overhang his land or vice versa. But be careful, don’t just talk. A private deed or better a notarial deed will avoid many neighbourhood problems.

If you have any questions or comments about the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Can my Neighbours guttering overhang my property?

How to make a gutter?

The only effective solution to make a gutter is to call a roofer/worker who will make what is called a zinc gutter with a box for the evacuation of rainwater. This gutter can be placed on the wall of your garage and the EP descent can either be inside the garage or at the end.

Is it necessary to put gutters?

It is not only necessary to put gutters, but the law also prohibits you from dumping your rainwater directly on your neighbour’s land! If your home is in the middle of the land, you are therefore free to install a gutter or not.

How to install a gutter on a wall?

To install a gutter on a wall drill through the wall at the correct distance from the gable. Ankle and screw the collars. Secure the gutter downspout in its collars and screw them into the final position, taking care to position the drain manhole at the end of the downspout.

References

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