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Old 09.07.2012, 17:07
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Construction complaints???

I am at the end of my tether. We rent a very small house in Vaud and our landlord lives next door. He is building apartments on the land that was his garden, and this project, which has been going on for a year, has encroached so much against our own garden that we cannot look out of a window (including the bathroom velux) without seeing builders looking in, temporary offices, a crane which looms over the house and noise, constantly. We had no notice, we have had no apology, our rent has not been reduced and we do not receive any notifications of projects directly affecting us.

Does anyone know our rights? Is there someone we can talk to? Can we go to the Maire, or would this be futile?
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Old 09.07.2012, 17:15
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Re: Construction complaints???

I'd consider relocation. Is an apartment really so good to withstand what you don't want to?
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Old 09.07.2012, 17:21
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Re: Construction complaints???

Have you spoken to your landlord about this? If it's been going on for a year and you've not raised any problems with him up to now he might simply assume you're fine with it.
If the work has gradually spread into your garden, same thing... you've not complained to him and the workmen might not be properly aware of the boundry line.

I'd suggest speaking to him first (if you feel he's approachable), he's next-door so must be sharing most if not all of the nuisances caused by the building site himself.

If that doesn't work.... it's probably time to approach ASLOCA. But be prepared for one very upset and potentially vindictive landlord.
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Old 09.07.2012, 17:32
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Re: Construction complaints???

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I'd consider relocation. Is an apartment really so good to withstand what you don't want to?
not before one's contract runs out.
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Old 09.07.2012, 17:34
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Re: Construction complaints???

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not before one's contract runs out.
In this case the lendlord should not be nitpicking and should accept termination request. Well, in an ideal world...
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Old 09.07.2012, 17:37
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Re: Construction complaints???

Firstly, we are leaving Switzerland at the end of the year, so not able to move to another place. Secondly, after the construction of yet another prefab overlooking our house, we complained to our landlord today and asked if we could at least be notified of projects directly affecting us, and he laughed at us - "I can't tell you everything that is going on" They are very wealthy and are invarialby away themselves, to avoid the noise - just back from a six week holiday. His wife told me "I have problems too - I cannot even use my own swimming pool!!"

Surely it cannot be legal to subject anyone to prolonged noise, dust, obstruction of views and intrusion without giving prior notice, compensation or the possibility of offering alternative accommodation? What is the law?
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Old 09.07.2012, 17:40
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Re: Construction complaints???

Get in touch with Asloca.ch. They are a renter's mediation body that will be able to tell you your full rights and whether you have any recourse against your landlord.

All sounds a bit unreasonable to me. Any construction work going on round by us is usually notified in writing with telephone numbers in case you need to raise a complaint.
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Old 09.07.2012, 17:46
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Re: Construction complaints???

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Firstly, we are leaving Switzerland at the end of the year, so not able to move to another place. Secondly, after the construction of yet another prefab overlooking our house, we complained to our landlord today and asked if we could at least be notified of projects directly affecting us, and he laughed at us - "I can't tell you everything that is going on" They are very wealthy and are invarialby away themselves, to avoid the noise - just back from a six week holiday. His wife told me "I have problems too - I cannot even use my own swimming pool!!"

Surely it cannot be legal to subject anyone to prolonged noise, dust, obstruction of views and intrusion without giving prior notice, compensation or the possibility of offering alternative accommodation? What is the law?
Quote:
Get in touch with Asloca.ch. They are a renter's mediation body that will be able to tell you your full rights and whether you have any recourse against your landlord.

All sounds a bit unreasonable to me. Any construction work going on round by us is usually notified in writing with telephone numbers in case you need to raise a complaint.
Of course it's not reasonable to expect you to put up with this, nor should you do so.

As we've said, contact ASLOCA.... they'll know exactly what laws are being 'bent' and what can be done about it.
You're a bit stuck if you're moving fairly soon but hopefully they'll be able to negociate at least a rent reduction and rebate.

Good luck!

Last edited by Anjela; 09.07.2012 at 17:46. Reason: Correcting spelling due to finger slippage
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Old 09.07.2012, 17:51
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Re: Construction complaints???

thanks everyone for your help and tips!!

do you need to be a member of ASLOCA to use their services? ,
also their website seems to be only French / (german and italian? ) , do they provide any English language support?
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Old 09.07.2012, 19:27
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Re: Construction complaints???

I think they ask you to join, but will normally give advice to non-members for a small fee. As for speaking english.... that'll probably depend on the individual you speak to but in Geneva (where we were members for many years) there was usually a few people in the office more than happy to practice their english!
Otherwise, could you get a friend to arrange a meeting and to go with you in case you get stuck?
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Old 09.07.2012, 22:21
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Re: Construction complaints???

It's a crappy situation, no arguments there, but as long as the builder next door (and the fact that he is your landlord is irrelevant) is not breaking the law what grounds do you think you have to complain.

He owns building land and he is entitled to build on it. Yes, it's a nuisance, but is he breaking the law? Does he operate machinery between 12 and 1 (ie over lunch)? Does he start working before 7 am? Does he operate machinery on Sundays?

As long as he is sticking to the law I really don't see what you can do...The only thing that may be possible is if he has put any structures close to the lot line. But seeing as he owns your land and the other he can make an agreement with himself for that also...
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Old 09.07.2012, 23:07
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Re: Construction complaints???

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It's a crappy situation, no arguments there, but as long as the builder next door (and the fact that he is your landlord is irrelevant) is not breaking the law what grounds do you think you have to complain.

He owns building land and he is entitled to build on it. Yes, it's a nuisance, but is he breaking the law? Does he operate machinery between 12 and 1 (ie over lunch)? Does he start working before 7 am? Does he operate machinery on Sundays?

As long as he is sticking to the law I really don't see what you can do...The only thing that may be possible is if he has put any structures close to the lot line. But seeing as he owns your land and the other he can make an agreement with himself for that also...
nannoo presumably has a rental agreement, which entitles them to certain considerations. They're paying to use their garden for example.... a usage which is apparently being denied them. The owner can't just change these conditions because it suits him to without renegociating the contract or paying compensation.

nannoo; was the possibility of building work mentioned when you first signed the contract or renewed it? Awareness of that would weaken your position, but your landlord certainly can't just build because he wants to..... there must have been a period when he was applying for planning permission, etc. when (if you were already there)you could in theory have lodged an opposition to his plans. If you weren't then it should have been mentioned when you applied for the rental.
Although as a renter you're not in a particularly strong position to stop the work completely your best bet is to ask Asloca to try and negociate some compensation or rental rebate. It could be a long process though.
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Old 09.07.2012, 23:19
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Re: Construction complaints???

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but your landlord certainly can't just build because he wants to..... there must have been a period when he was applying for planning permission, etc. when (if you were already there)you could in theory have lodged an opposition to his plans. If you weren't then it should have been mentioned when you applied for the rental.
Uh, and why is that? "Your landlord can't just build because he wants to"? Boy oh boy, where do you find this stuff? You couldn't make it up if you tried!

Has the landlord actually gone over the lot line onto the property of the land you rent? Or is he right on the lot line?

You could also argue that it is the tenants responsibility to find this all out. After all, planning permission is public information and is freely available at the local Gemeinde. And if the tenant missed the planning permission period then I don't see why the owner should have to suffer. You go live next to building land you always run the risk that someone is going to start building something.
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Old 10.07.2012, 01:45
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Re: Construction complaints???

We have lived here for 12 years. When we moved in, the surrounding gardens beyond ours were part of the "maison villageoise" which our landlord owns. He had sheep and chickens within his gardens (it is not a farm, these were extended lawned gardens) and it was blissful. Just over a year ago, he mentioned in passing that PART of the gardens away from our house would be used for a small apartment block. We had nothing in writing, and assumed that the trees beyond our garden would shield us from the complex. All the trees were removed, exposing our house completely, and then building started and it became apparent that the whole of the gardens would become a large apartment complex. But we had no idea how it would encroach on our house. We are now totally surrounded by a building site and have no privacy at all, and have to close curtains etc in order to dress or take a shower.

Of course our landlord has rights as the owner. But surely a tenant has rights too. How can it be allowed for our lives to be disturbed in this way without recourse to some sort of action?
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Old 10.07.2012, 01:51
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Re: Construction complaints???

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You could also argue that it is the tenants responsibility to find this all out. After all, planning permission is public information and is freely available at the local Gemeinde. And if the tenant missed the planning permission period then I don't see why the owner should have to suffer. You go live next to building land you always run the risk that someone is going to start building something.
If we had no idea he was planning to build, why would we think to go check? The land was never building land, it was a garden and part of a large old village house.
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Old 10.07.2012, 02:40
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Re: Construction complaints???

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Of course our landlord has rights as the owner. But surely a tenant has rights too. How can it be allowed for our lives to be disturbed in this way without recourse to some sort of action?
Even if you owned your house and your landlord (who wouldn't be your landlord) got permission to build his apartments you would be in the same situation as you are now. The fact that the guy IS your landlord is irrelevant.
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Old 10.07.2012, 02:43
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Re: Construction complaints???

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If we had no idea he was planning to build, why would we think to go check? The land was never building land, it was a garden and part of a large old village house.
If it wasn't building land he wouldn't be building on it, would he? The fact that nothing was on it doesn't mean it wasn't building land.

Look, I understand that the OP is feeling aggrieved and angry and wants to do something. But as one of my kids French teachers used to say: "That's too bad".

Unless the building is physically encroaching on the property that the OP is renting, he/she really doesn't have a leg to stand on.
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Old 10.07.2012, 03:32
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Re: Construction complaints???

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Surely it cannot be legal to subject anyone to prolonged noise, dust, obstruction of views and intrusion without giving prior notice, compensation or the possibility of offering alternative accommodation? What is the law?
Yes, they can.

Didn't you notice the sticks that they put up years prior to start building?

That was your time to complain, not now.

Tom
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Old 10.07.2012, 04:16
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Re: Construction complaints???

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Yes, they can.

Didn't you notice the sticks that they put up years prior to start building?

That was your time to complain, not now.

Tom
Hey Tom

True but as ten nets surely they would have no right to dispute? However would have seen what was coming, unless there were no poles.... I doubt, but.... To say the land wasn't building land, perhaps it wasn't, then...

But I'd wager this farmer got the jackpot when the perfect vista could be turned residential as happens every so decades, this is how ruralers now become obscenely minted.... I feel sorry for your last months there but really there isn't much you can do and I'd hope after so long you have a good enough relationship with said landlords to not let your last months get sour.
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Old 10.07.2012, 11:26
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Re: Construction complaints???

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Uh, and why is that? "Your landlord can't just build because he wants to"? Boy oh boy, where do you find this stuff? You couldn't make it up if you tried!
.
I meant (and I'm quite sure you understood this), that he can't just decide he wants to build and then start to do so. I did mention his need to apply for planning, etc. I don't make things up, I find them out.

nannoo, it's tricky as he does seem to have told you about the building work, he's just 'neglected' to mention the extent of the build!
I'd still approach Asloca and find out if you're entitled to compensation as you seem to have lost some of the Joissance (enjoyment or the benefit or advantage) of your rental property.

If it's any consulation, building work usually stops in August as that's traditionally the building trades holiday period.
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