Avoiding Home Damage

A recent Toronto Star column by a Toronto real estate lawyer shines some light on a somewhat gray area for downtown Toronto homeowners with neighbors in close proximity, which is an extremely common situation due to how homes are built in the city.

It’s not unusual for Toronto real estate to be close together downtown.

Real Estate Lawyer tells the story of a client whose new neighbor next door had dug up the area between the homes to repair the foundation on their own home, but in the process caused damage to the client’s home by removing the weeping tiles and waterproofing from his foundation walls.

The client became understandably concerned that the hole between the homes might eventually be filled without his foundation being repaired properly.

When a neighbor must access adjoining property for the purposes of making repairs, building fences or other reasonable situations, they have a right to if the neighbor consents to this or they get a permit from the Municipal Licensing and Standards department, according to Toronto Bylaw. As well, damages caused by accessing the land or whatever is done on the land is the responsibility of the neighbor, who must provide compensation. A permit, on the other hand, needs liability insurance and a security deposit.

The wording of the bylaw, in particular, does not say that permission or a permit are the only ways for someone to enter their neighbor’s property in order to do repairs, so if the neighbor skirts the rules and just goes ahead, the city can’t do anything about it and the matter becomes private.

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The Only Recourse The Homeowner With The Affected Property Has Is Taking The Neighbor To Civil Court For Trespassing And Damaging The Property.

If you are not overly friendly with your neighbors, keeping an eye on any work that begins near your property, especially if your neighbor has hired a company to do it, is wise. Toronto real estate is often built quite close to other homes, and there’s a good chance that if a neighbor has a lackadaisical roofing crew doing some re-shingling that roofing nails will wind up in your driveway.

There’s also a good chance that if they need to redo their foundation, you’ll be shaken awake every morning at 7 a.m. This is why it’s prudent to either get along with your neighbors or keep an eye on their construction. Each day when work ends, do a quick inspection of the outside of your property for any damage or issues that might arise in the coming days, and bring them up then and there with your neighbor and the construction crew before it gets out of hand and you have to resort to legal unpleasantries.

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