It occurs from time to time that the newly constructed building causes in some way disturbance, a nuisance to those living in the neighbourhood. For instance, when the newly constructed building takes the view from the neighbouring building. In such a case the constructors usually refer to the regularity of the construction. However, it shall not exempt them from all liability.
Loss of panorama, loss of privacy due to construction
The construction of a building may cause a disturbing effect on the neighbourhood in various ways.
- The most common example is the newly constructed building which blocks more or less the view from the neighbouring building. This circumstance is relevant amongst others because the view of the building may considerably increase the value of the real estate. The blocking of the panorama logically leads to the depreciation of the real estate’s market value.
- It may also occur that a building is constructed in the neighbourhood from where a part which was covered until then may be seen (for instance: inner courtyard). This may violate the right to intimacy of neighbors, as the private area concerned and the events there become observable.
- The disturbance may also occur in a way that the newly constructed building considerably limits the sun exposure of the neighbouring real estate.
- May also have a disturbing and depreciating effect if such a building is constructed in the residential area in which constant and significant noise activities are carried out.
The liability of the constructor because of the construction
The Civil Code stipulates that the owner shall refrain from all behaviours during the usage of a thing which would unnecessarily disturb others, especially the neighbours.
The courts took position in various cases that blocking the view, violation of the intimacy constitutes disturbance against the legal provisions.
Therefore, the constructor, in addition to compliance with the building regulations, shall consider the legitimate interest of the affected neighbours.
In the course of the planning and construction, the constructor shall act in a way to avoid the unnecessary disturbance of the neighbours. In other words, not to block unnecessary the view or to violate the privacy.
Constructors often refer to the fact that the building complies with the national and local construction regulations, authority requirements. Accordingly, there shall be no violation towards the neighbour.
However, the courts confirmed in various decisions that the compliance with the construction regulations does not exclude that the building causes unnecessary disturbance to the neighbour. Therefore, the compliance with the building regulations does not exempt the constructor automatically from the compensation for the depreciation caused to the neighbouring building.
Payment of the depreciation
A construction that results in loss of panorama, violation of intimacy, usually has the consequence that the value of the neighbouring property concerned decreases. The depreciation of the market value emerges as damage, for which compensation may be requested from the neighbour carrying out the construction.
In such cases, the court examines if the construction complies with the construction regulations and if no, whether the depreciation arises from such deviation.
If the construction complies with the regulations, it does not exempt the construction in itself from liability.
The court examines if the constructor has carried out its activity with due diligence and care to avoid damage-causing depreciation to the market value of the neighbouring building. In such cases, it shall be examined if the construction could have been carried out in a way not disturbing unnecessarily the neighbour, without causing depreciation. Furthermore, during the examination, the construction habits and technical solutions shall be taken into account.
Dr. Szabó Gergely