Neighbours Problems

Quebec Real Estate Law

Abuse of Rights and Problems with Neighbours

The person who abides by law is a good citizen. But does it make him a good neighbour? The manner in which he exercises his rights is just as important as the extent or scope of these rights.

The Civil Code of Quebec introduces rules that will be used as instruments of persuasion, and a measurement and appreciation of the gravity of disruptions and inconveniences caused by neighbours.

Article 7 C.C.Q.:  No right may be exercised with the intent of injuring another or in an excessive and unreasonable manner which is contrary to the requirements of good faith.

Article 976 C.C.Q.: Neighbours shall suffer the normal neighbourhood annoyances that are not beyond the limit of tolerance they owe each other, according to the nature or location of their land or local custom.

The law looks at the malicious exercise of the right of ownership (Art  7 C.C.Q.). A person who intentionally harms his neighbour is engaging in wrongdoing. A wrongful behaviour must cease and the prejudice be compensated. This is a matter for injunction and damages.

Clumsiness, negligence and even ignorance can also prejudice others beyond the normal inconveniences of life in society. Such behaviour is also reprehensible. It too must cease and the prejudice be repaired (976 C.C.Q.)

The courts intervene in this domain to give their assent to the law and to evaluate the nature and gravity of the facts. Such cases can become very heated. Owners have been known to build hideous fences or hung ugly and disgusting rugs. More subtle still in the case in which amateur horticulturist of great repute instituted proceedings against his neighbour because the latter’s construction shaded his roses. Beyond the law, courts will look at individual behaviour.

Catalin Ivan- Quebec Real Estate Broker-