Keep the peace with your neighbours during home renovations

Keep the peace with your neighbours during home renovations

(Photo credit: bertknot/Flickr)

(Photo credit: bertknot/Flickr)

For many homeowners, home renovations are a regular part of their lives. It’s not surprising that everyone wants to upgrade their home to their liking, but depending on the work you’ve done and the type of property you own, you should consider giving your neighbours a heads up about your plans.

Managing a good relationship with your neighbours can be tricky and there’s no exact science on how to go about doing so. There have been many cases where these relationships have gone awry due to lengthy renovations that inadvertently impacted their lifestyle.

One home renovation gone wrong between neighbours led to a broken marriage, lengthy court proceedings and the unfortunate suicide of one of the previous homeowners, which friends and family say that the house issues led him towards a downward spiral, according to the National Post.

All the allegations in the article are details in a lengthy lawsuit between both homeowners of the adjoining semi-detached properties, the owner of the renovation company that did the work, the engineer hired by the renovation company and the City of Toronto. The defendants have also filed claims against one another, according to the Post.

Back in 2009, a Toronto couple bought a semi-detached house which needed many renovations. As they got to work installing new hardwood floors, upgrading their kitchen with granite countertops and limestone floors and painting, their neighbours, who had bought the semi-detached property beside them only a few months before, were gutting their property.

The trouble began a short while after when a city inspector discovered that the neighbour’s renovation work was causing structural issues to the property’s integrity. The couple’s contractor also expressed concerns about the neighbour’s renovation since their contractor had removed a portion of the foundation wall, which opened up a hole between the two properties. The issues only worsened from there with propane gas leaking from the worksite into the couple’s property and a portion of the roof was torn away, which left the second storey completely exposed. The couple eventually moved out of the house after a structural engineer deemed the structure at risk of collapsing after the neighbour’s contractors demolished the rest of the adjoining property.

From there, the situation took a toll on the couple’s personal lives and they broke up, though never legally divorced, the bar they owned was eventually sold and the house was sold too. The surviving homeowner continues to pursue the lawsuit, but it may be a while until the situation is resolved.

While this is an extreme case of an out of control home renovation job, keep the peace between your neighbours by informing them about renovations if you’re doing a renovation that could affect their home’s structure, electricity or water. This is much more likely to happen if you’re doing renovations in a semi-detached or a townhouse. In some cases, neighbours need to be informed and will even need to sign documentation before you’ll be approved for a permit.

Even before getting started on any renovations, it’s always a good idea to get to know your neighbours so you’re not asking them to accommodate your needs right off the bat.

One of the most common concerns when it comes to renovations is the noise from any construction work. Get details from your contractor about when work will be done and how long the job will take. Also, ensure your contractors comply with noise bylaws and that they keep the worksite as clean as possible.

Neighbouring homeowners will also want to ensure that their property isn’t damaged during the renovation, depending on the type of job that’s being done. If it’s a bigger job, such as adding a new addition to your home, make sure that your contractors take all the necessary precautions to avoid issues. If problems do crop up, make yourself available to try and nip the issue in the bud before things get out of hand.

Rebate4U can help you figure out whether the changes to your property make you eligible to receive the maximum HST housing rebate. Our priority is to provide our clients with the most professional and quality service in obtaining rebates for their new and renovated homes. We are proud to offer our clients the most personal and attentive service, and we make sure that all of our clients are 100% satisfied.

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