Many of us live in an urban environment, and with that comes living in pretty close quarters to neighbours. While we have our own land and buildings, what neighbours do on their land can affect us too. This could be in terms of shading, privacy, noise or your outlook. But if your neighbours doing some work on their property how do you find out about it?
Talk to them!
In these days of high technology use, we’ve mainly lost the neighbourly relationships our parents had where you knew your neighbours and were often friends with them. That doesn’t mean though that you can’t make the effort to introduce yourself and have a friendly conversation about what they’re doing.
After all, you may have to live next to each other for years to come and being friendly with the person who lives a few meters away is much better for everyone than being at odds. People are often more receptive to a personal approach.
Building Consent: if a person is doing a building project, its highly likely this required a building consent. A building consent is a public record and will include plans and specification details; as a public document you can request to see this. The plans will show you exactly what is being built, where, materials and what it will look like. There may however be administration charges associated with obtaining a copy of the building consent documents. If you just want basic information, you may be able to get this from the council call centre (for example they can tell you it’s an extension, minor dwelling, garage etc).
Resource Consent: a lesser number of developments also require resource consent. Like with a building consent, this is a public document, so you can also request to view it. Again, the Council is likely to charge you an administration fee for this. The resource consent records will include plans, assessment/s of potential environmental effects (AEE) and will address potential effects on neighbours; it may be interesting to read this if you think you’re affected.
Many people are still coming to grips with rezoning of land in Auckland and what this means; what can occur on land and what people think should occur are not always aligned. It may be useful for you to look at the local district plan (the Auckland Unitary Plan in the case of Auckland) and see what could occur on the land ‘as of right’- i.e. without a resource consent. You might be surprised what your neighbour can do.
What if there are no consents?
If there are no consents and you are worried about what your neighbour is doing, again we would recommend talking to your neighbour. If that’s isn’t possible, you can contact the Council’s compliance team. This team investigates development and identify any specific issues, including any need for resource consent. They are like the Council development police, and work to ensure that Council rules are upheld. You can contact the Council’s compliance team via their call centre.
Want to discuss your neighbours development? If you think you’re affected by your neighbour’s development contact us today to discuss. We provide advice about what can occur on your neighbours site and what the effects on your property will be.
As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.