While purchasing a property gives you the right to do what you like to the place (within the limits of HOA or body corporate and municipal regulations, of course), you might not be the only one affected by certain household renovations you choose to undertake. Regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, therefore encourages homeowners to be considerate of those around them before going ahead with their plans.
“Depending on what kind of project homeowners decide to tackle, they could find themselves in for hefty fines or a visit by their local police officers if they are not careful,” he says. “Legally, residents may lay official complaints against neighbours who are disturbing the peace. To avoid these kinds of complaints, homeowners should warn their neighbours in advance if they do plan on undertaking any noisy renovations. They should also make sure that loud construction work comes to an end by 5pm and does not start before 7am.
“If building supplies (bricks, wood frames, etc.) are going to be dropped off at your property, and if these supplies are going to encroach onto the boundary line that divides your plot from that of your neighbour, then you will need to gain your neighbours’ permission first before going ahead. This applies to any structures which are being built on the boundary lines too.
“If possible, homeowners should avoid building structures against or even near to the boundary walls of their plot. While a neighbour might grant the necessary permission at first, the noise of having a neighbour’s room right outside their property might prove bothersome over time. Similarly, homeowners should avoid any renovations that will obstruct the views of their neighbours if they want to avoid placing strain on these relationships.”
Another addition most do not realise to be bothersome to those who live beside them is outdoor lighting.
“Particularly if your neighbour’s home faces into your garden, motion-activated outdoor lights can be a real nuisance. Homeowners should be considerate when fitting external light fixtures to make sure that the lights will not keep their neighbours awake at night.”
Lastly, Goslett suggests that if homeowners want to avoid causing tension with their neighbours, they choose to keep external features to a style that fits in with the overall aesthetic of the neighbourhood.
“If you want to avoid conflict, you might want to keep any elaborate and unique design statements to the interior of your home. For example, if your neighbourhood is filled with homes painted in neutral shades, perhaps it might be better to leave that tin of red paint for your living room instead of the exterior of your home,” Goslett says.