My neighbour has written me a letter requesting that I pay half of the boundary wall he built. I purchased my stand about 3 years ago in when the wall already built and built my house and plastered and painted the boundary wall. He now states that until such time that I pay half of the cost the wall belongs to him and any alteration to this wall is illegal as the wall belong to him and is supposedly built on his side of the boundary which I will have to verify.Further more he has accused me of fill up on my my side of the wall and that there is a differnce in height and this is causing water dampness on his side. This statement in my opnioin is not true and I believe he has actualy lower his ground level to allow for paving etc. There is also no drainage holes to allow water to drain from my property to his as I am on the high side of the slope.Do I have to contribute to a wall that was built before I took transfer of the property?Does he have to allow my water to run through his property?Who is responsible to the water dampness of hiss side?
Province: Guateng Centurion
Good day. 1. With regards XXXXX XXXXX boundary wall: In the absence of any proof that the wall is entirely on one property or the other, it is presumed that the wall will form the boundary and that each party will own half of the wall. In other words, an imaginary line is drawn through half if the wall along it's length and each party owns that half which faces his property. There is nothing illegal about improving or altering the appearance of the wall on the side that faces your property and you need not consult your neighbor with regards XXXXX XXXXX There is a list of things that you are not allowed to do, but plastering and painting is not on that list.2. There is also no claim that lies against you for the erection of the wall, however, you can be held responsible for the repair and maintenance of the wall. 3. There is a common law servitude that states that a lower lying property is obligated to receive the natural flow of water from a higher laying property. The emphasis is here on the word "natural" and any action that you or your predecessor took to alter the natural flow of water so that it is directed at his property must be undone at the request of the property that receives the water. Since it would seem that the problem was caused by his actions, you should not have a problem. This would also mean that, if there is damp on his side of the wall, he needs to address it.4. Remember that he who alleges must prove. So, if he is accusing you of doing the things he is accusing you off, he must prove it in a court of law, if he so chooses and if he cannot, he risks losing the case and paying your legal costs.
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1) Even if my neighbour can verify that the wall is on his side of the boundary line I am entiled to plaster and make good the wall regardly if he claims the wall belongs to him?
2) Can he actually claim ownership of the wall - is there no co-ownership as the property was bought by me with the existing wall built?
3) Is he allowed to rectify any modification or alterations to the wall using his own contractors for my account?
4) Do i need his permission to make drainage holes in the wall to accomodate the natural flow of water (although this would be the right thing to do)?
1. If the wall is entirely on his side, the wall does not "belong" to you and, therefore, you are also not obligated to pay for it. He cannot have his bread buttered on two sides. Either he says that the wall is entirely on his property, in which case you have done some improvements to his property or it isn't, in which case, you have done nothing wrong. But, until it is proved which is what, it is presumed that you are co-owners of the wall. It would also not be enough for him to prove that the wall is entirely on his property. He would also have to prove that he suffered damages because you plastered the wall and painted it and how is he going to do that? Impossible. You are probably not "entitled" to plaster and paint it, but he would still have to prove damages if you do.2. See above about the presumption. 3. If it is proved that the whole wall is on his property, no. If the presumption operates or if the wall is on the boundary, then also not. He would have to present you with quotations and request that you contribute to the reasonable costs. So, if his contractors ask double than what the normal rate is, that would be unreasonable and you would only be liable for half of the market related costs of the repairs. Also note that this is just for necessary expenses. If he replaces the wall with a more expensive wall or make it higher or something and you refuse to pay for it, then you would not be liable. This is for maintenance and repairs only that the principle of shared contribution operate.4. You are entitled to facilitate the natural flow of water from your property to lower lying properties. In other words, yes, you can make the drainage holes, however, it would be best if you do so with the assistance of the municipality. If you are going to just tell him that you will be making holes in the wall, you might end up a night in jail for willful destruction of property. Not that you will necessarily be guilty of that, but with the SAPD nowadays, that could be a risk. So, tackle that problem with the assistance of the Municipality or an attorney.
L.LB, Civil and criminal litigation, contracts, labour and family law
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