New rules on neighbourhood disturbances

The ongoing reform of the Belgian Civil Code has changed a number of provisions that apply to situations that most of us will encounter in our daily lives.

Concerning neighbourhood relations, the new rules make it possible, for instance, to impose preventive measures on a neighbour, whose property is a cause for “serious and manifest risks in terms of safety, health or pollution”.

As for plantations, the new rule provides that when branches or roots grow beyond the limits of a property, the neighbour can put the owner on notice to have them removed and cut in his stead and at his expense should he choose not to react within 60 days.

The existing distinction between trees with high or low stems is removed: trees that are at least two meters high must now stand at least two meters away from the property line. The others may be planted half a meter from the property limit, unless otherwise agreed upon between neighbors or based on acquisitive prescription.

Regarding acquisitive prescription, it has now been reduced to 10 years if the owner is acting in good faith: this can therefore have an impact for instance on the maintenance of a hedge or another other plantation on the property of one’s neighbour.

These new rules entered into force on 1/09/2021.

For more information on the subject, please do not hesitate to contact Me Carole DE RUYT (carole.deruyt@cairnlegal.be).

Best regards,
The Cairn Legal team.