Protecting Residents' Rights: Combating Unauthorized Construction by Neighbors
Posted on 19 July, 2023 by Shaurya Singh
The concept of owning a home entails a sense of security and tranquility, where individuals can live comfortably within the confines of their property. However, there are instances when a neighbor's actions encroach upon these rights, particularly when it comes to unauthorized construction. In this blog, we will explore the rights of residents and the measures they can take to protect themselves against unauthorized construction by their neighbors.
The Right to Quiet Enjoyment:
One of the fundamental rights of any resident is the right to quiet enjoyment of their property. This encompasses the right to live in a peaceful and undisturbed environment, free from the disruptions caused by unauthorized construction. If a neighbor's construction activities are causing excessive noise, pollution, or other disturbances, it is essential to address the issue promptly.
Property Boundaries and Encroachments:
Residential properties are defined by legally established boundaries. Unauthorized construction that encroaches upon these boundaries is a clear violation of a resident's rights. If you suspect that your neighbor's construction is extending beyond their property line and encroaching upon yours, it is crucial to consult with a property surveyor or legal expert to determine the exact boundaries and take appropriate action to protect your rights.
Building Permits and Zoning Laws:
Construction activities must comply with local building permits and zoning regulations to ensure the safety, aesthetics, and functionality of the neighborhood. Unauthorized construction typically bypasses these legal requirements, jeopardizing the overall quality of the community. As a concerned resident, you have the right to report any violations to the appropriate local authorities, such as the municipal or zoning board, who can investigate the matter and enforce necessary actions.
Community Associations and Covenants:
Many residential areas are governed by community associations or covenants that impose specific rules and restrictions on property owners. These regulations are designed to maintain the integrity and harmony of the community. Unauthorized construction may violate these covenants, providing residents with a legal recourse to address the issue. Review your community's bylaws and regulations, and if necessary, report the unauthorized construction to the community association for further action.
Legal Recourse and Mediation:
If informal discussions and interventions fail to resolve the issue, residents have the right to seek legal recourse to protect their interests. Consulting an attorney experienced in property and construction law can provide valuable guidance on the available legal options, including filing for an injunction to halt the construction or pursuing a lawsuit for damages. Mediation is another alternative that may help resolve conflicts without resorting to lengthy court proceedings.
In the case of ONKAR NATH VERSUS RAM NATH LNIND 1985 DEL 33, Defendants allegedly raised unauthorized construction on the eastern part of Plaintiff s house, obstructing light and air. The issue was whether trial courts were justified in denying a restraining order against Defendants holding no prima facie case made out.
Held, Plaintiff had the right to seek the aid of the Court in restraining his neighbor from raising unauthorized construction contrary to Bye-Laws. No sanction plan was filed in favor of the Defendant's Application for obtaining any sanction for raising a building. Missing Intention from the report of the local Commissioner made it clear that Defendants intended to raise structures. Structures are not to be raised without permission of the authorities concerned affecting the rights of Plaintiff. Courts below ought to have injuncted Defendants from raising unauthorized construction on the plot in question. Plaintiff had a prima facie case in his favor and would suffer irreparable injury if the Defendants were not restrained. Impugned orders set aside and an injunction restraining Defendants from raising any construction over plot granted. Revision allowed.
Adv. V K Singh during my internship, guided me with the following remedies in case of unauthorised construction by a neighbor.
MCD helpline numbers - https://mcdonline.nic.in/portal/contactUs
Contact and email of differentzonal offices in Delhi- https://mcdonline.nic.in/portal/contactUs
Write an application to theCommissioner of MCD.
File an online complaint - https://mcd.everythingcivic.com/new_complain?app_id=628e23bb28ebeef740e6e80e
File an RTI first appeal to the NDMC online throughRTI online portal.
If No Permits are available with the neighbor- File a complaint to the MCD 311 online- Unauthorised construction.
If a Permit is there and a nuisance is caused, file a civil suit for an injunction in District Court.
Residential rights should be respected, and unauthorized construction by neighbors infringes upon those rights. As a resident, it is crucial to understand your rights, be aware of local regulations, and take appropriate action when necessary. By addressing unauthorized construction promptly and employing legal avenues, residents can protect their rights and maintain the peaceful and secure environment they deserve. Collaboration with local authorities, legal experts, and community associations can contribute to the resolution of these disputes, ultimately fostering a harmonious neighborhood for everyone involved.
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