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Use of Land

Sometimes one neighbour objects to the use the other neighbour is making, or proposes to make to the land, or the type, size or colour of a building that is to be erected on the land, usually because:

  • it is, or will be out of character with, or different from the rest of the area
  • it may lower land values
  • the building will be too tall, block the sun, obstruct the view or, even though it is on the other side of the boundary, be too close
  • the building work may damage the neighbour's land
  • it is causing, or will cause, parking problems.

In some situations, what the neighbour is doing or proposing to do is contrary to some private right of the adjoining owner. These rights usually arise by agreement (it may be an agreement between previous owners) in the form of easements and covenants which appear on the land title documents. For example, if there is an agreement between a number of land owners not to put up a certain type of fence (a restrictive covenant), one adjoining owner will have a private right against another. Similarly, there may be a private agreement (as there normally is between owners of terrace houses) to mutually support each other's walls (a cross easement of support). There may be an agreement which ensures open access to light and air, or which prevents building on a certain part of a block of land.

If these types of private rights are infringed, a person may go to court to seek compensation or an order to stop the offending activity.

Use of Land  :  Last Revised: Fri Apr 30th 2010
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.