Economy Wall, Fence… What are the rules for joint ownership?

Wall, Fence… What are the rules for joint ownership?

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IStock / City Presse

In order to make the most of the land, most real estate projects provide for the creation of terraced houses on one or two sides. Beyond a necessary learning and a good dose of understanding on the part of the new occupants to live in harmony with their neighbors, this type of architecture also restricts the possibilities of fitting out their homes.

One wall, two owners

Joint ownership is a right that two neighbors have on the same building. It is most often a wall or a fence to distinguish their gardens, or a partition separate their houses. The problem with this kind of situation is that both parties have full ownership of the entire adjoining building.

Consequently, each one must ensure its maintenance and its conservation within the framework of a common agreement not always easy to obtain. In fact, an owner can only undertake major repair, raising or reconstruction work if the wall threatens to collapse if he can justify an emergency situation. Otherwise, not only can the uninformed other owner refuse to pay half of the costs incurred, but he can also turn against his too hasty neighbor.

Apart from these extreme cases, one of the parties can decide to raise the party wall or increase its thickness on its side, without waiting for the approval of the other. But the costs of construction and maintenance will then remain entirely at its charge. In return, she will be the sole owner of the upper part of the wall.

A supervised right of action

The adjoining owners are free to use the common construction as they see fit, subject to avoiding anything that could cause damage. In practice, for example, it is quite possible to rent an advertising insert on your side of the wall without your neighbor being able to find fault with it. Likewise, the two owners can lean espalier plantations against a dividing fence, provided that they do not exceed it in height and that they respect the other town planning rules, which impose a minimum distance of 50 cm for them. vegetation reaching less than 2 m in height, and to space them at least 2 m in the case of trees which will peak at more than 2 m.

Whether it is an exterior wall or a partition common to the two houses, each owner can also support constructions on it, hang decorative elements on it, or even drive beams into it, provided that this work does not do not question the solidity of the building. Finally, to guarantee respect for the living environment and the privacy of each person, the law prohibits making any openings, door or window, in the party wall without the neighbor’s consent.

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