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Brian, Architect
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 3123
Experience:  Licensed Architect- 17 years, L.E.E.D. AP
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our neighbor is building a garage on the property line, how

Customer Question

our neighbor is building a garage on the property line, how close from the side of our home
to the side of his garage can he build. we live in san jose ca.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Brian replied 6 years ago.

Brian :

Welcome to Just Answer.

I have never seen anyone allowed to build on their property line. There are setbacks off the property line that have to be adhered to when constructing a building. Unfortunately, your question varies from town to town and you will have to do a little research to find your answer. Here is how you go about doing that:

To determine the yard setbacks of your neighbors property, you will either need to phone or travel to your local building/ zoning department.

The zoning department has separated your town into various zones, based on building use. You will need to find out what zone your neighbors property is in and it will most likely be the same zone as your property. After determining the zone, you will be able to find out what the front, rear, and side yard setbacks are. All of these setback distances off the property line leaves a shape in the center of the property which gives the buildable area of the property. Any structure needs to be located within that buildable area, including the garage.

Currently, there is not an easy way for me to access all the zoning codes of every town, in every state, or I would be able to give you all of this information. Unfortunately, you will need to do the legwork or phone calling, but at least now, you know how to go about it. The zoning official will be more than happy to help you with all of this. Good luck.

If you need further help or clarification on this answer, please do not hesitate to reply to this post.

Thanks for asking your question at Just Answer.

Best of Luck, Brian

Please leave feedback at your convenience.

Customer :

Sorry but I don't feel you gave me a answer, you told me I would have to do reseach, that I could ask the local zoning dept. that there is not a easy way for you to access all the codes for every state, so I got no real answer, & feel I should not pay any thing, cause I didn't get the info I requested.......

Brian :

You are correct. I have no way to answer your question; nobody can answer this question accept your local zoning department. So I offered the next best available option, and that was to tell you how to get your answer. Sorry if that wasn't helpful.

Customer :

but of course I already knew where I could go to find the info, but I thought I could save a trip to city hall by asking you, that DIDN"T HAPPEN

Brian :

Unfortunately I cannot answer a question that is site specific. I will tell you that your neighbor should not be able to build on the property line. There will be at least a 5 to 10 foot setback. It is hard to guess because I don't know how close the houses are together and what is allowed by zoning. Would you like a refund?

Customer :

sorry but yes I would, I don't feel I have any more info then I did before I asked my question.

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