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Should I talk to neighbour about this?

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[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 7, 2013
143 posts
45 upvotes
Scarborough, ON

Should I talk to neighbour about this?

Our backyard neighbour has about a 3-4 foot high slope that drains water into our backyard. When we moved in last year they said that they did not have money to fix the problem (we did not bring it up, they told me while I was working out back). This year they put up a large cedar garden house (as the contractor called it) that is on stilts in the rear section towards our house. So relative to our ground level, it's about 13-15 ft high. They don't have a fence to block it, so now we have a large shed dominating our view. Also,with less greenery under the cedar house I expect even less to stop the flow and there may even more water pooling in the back of our yard. Do We have any rights with respect to the height of the shed or with respect to the water flowing to our garden? Is it reasonable to ask them to put up a barrier to stop the flow and a few trees to hide the view of the shed? What's the best approach to come to a resolution.
34 replies
Deal Addict
Feb 24, 2008
3359 posts
2012 upvotes
Mississauga
13-15 feet high sounds huge. Check your municipal bylaws for height restrictions.

All else fails, burn it with fire
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2006
4478 posts
477 upvotes
Burlington, Ontario
I know here we have by-laws requiring that the neighbour cannot affect the water 'flow' on your lot. I went though a lot of this myself with my neighbour, a builder, who built a number of houses next to our 60 year old property and our property became a lake. City became involved and had the builder regrade, 3 times.

So yes, more than likely your municipality may have similar by-laws. I started by calling up the by-law department and they had a selection for "Excess water on my property".
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Deal Fanatic
Mar 15, 2005
5735 posts
1321 upvotes
bkktravel wrote: Our backyard neighbour has about a 3-4 foot high slope that drains water into our backyard. When we moved in last year they said that they did not have money to fix the problem (we did not bring it up, they told me while I was working out back). This year they put up a large cedar garden house (as the contractor called it) that is on stilts in the rear section towards our house. So relative to our ground level, it's about 13-15 ft high. They don't have a fence to block it, so now we have a large shed dominating our view. Also,with less greenery under the cedar house I expect even less to stop the flow and there may even more water pooling in the back of our yard. Do We have any rights with respect to the height of the shed or with respect to the water flowing to our garden? Is it reasonable to ask them to put up a barrier to stop the flow and a few trees to hide the view of the shed? What's the best approach to come to a resolution.
Sounds like your neighbors priority list doesn't have you anywhere near it.

You should do the same and call the bylaw office over.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 19, 2004
9139 posts
2045 upvotes
Cambridge, ON
Often when you have a yard that affects water drainage, they are not able to do much without a permit that allows them to change grading. And for the shed, I assume they got a permit if it sits that high?

You can ask and see what they will do or what further plans are. As for putting up trees to block the view, why can't you do that? If you don't like view, why not plant trees in your yard? It seems you would have full control of that option.

You may have to do some work to your yard to fix the water pooling problem. They may have the slope, but really the water is going to come down regardless. Doesn't sound like your yard is graded properly or has been changed somehow so it pools instead of draining away properly.

So yes, talk to the neighbour. Find out why they think there is a problem to fix.
Deal Addict
Jul 17, 2009
1303 posts
422 upvotes
could you put in some sort of damn up to tr and keep the water on their side?
Deal Fanatic
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Apr 11, 2008
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Did they actually change anything to create the high slope or has it always been there?
Deal Fanatic
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Nov 19, 2004
9139 posts
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Cambridge, ON
veryboredguy wrote: could you put in some sort of damn up to tr and keep the water on their side?
I wouldn't do this. Especially if you have to use the by - law approach. You would just get yourself into trouble as well. As archanfel asked, you need to find out if the neighbours changed the grading or not, or possibly the grading was changed on your side.
Deal Addict
Sep 20, 2008
1149 posts
308 upvotes
Toronto
BuildingHomes wrote: I know here we have by-laws requiring that the neighbour cannot affect the water 'flow' on your lot. I went though a lot of this myself with my neighbour, a builder, who built a number of houses next to our 60 year old property and our property became a lake. City became involved and had the builder regrade, 3 times.

So yes, more than likely your municipality may have similar by-laws. I started by calling up the by-law department and they had a selection for "Excess water on my property".

Hold on, hold on...how is there a mound of earth at their house and not yours? Does the opposite neighbor have a mound similar? Something seems very fishy, like they did it themselves the year before to grow out the grass to make "a base" then add this garden house. BH is correct call your local municipality.

I would also call your local building inspector to see if any of this is legal. Does this garden house meet zoning? does it have a permit? etc.
Project 708
Architectural Pencil Pusher
Member
Apr 8, 2009
315 posts
70 upvotes
I wonder if the slope is natural, meaning part of the landscape of a hill or mount.
if it is, you can pretty much do nothing about it.

there are a lot of small mounts and hills in the GTA area, if your house is built on the lower side of the hill---tough luck!


if the slope is man-made, meaning someone dug up their basement or porch and too cheap to
rent a dumpster to dispose of the mud, and then put the mud at the backyard.
In that case you can make them remove all the mud.




.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 7, 2013
143 posts
45 upvotes
Scarborough, ON
I'm pretty sure it's a natural slope, but is removing grass and shrubs to put down the shed OK? It's not going to dramatically change things but it will probably be a little worse. What drives us crazy is the neighbours next to him have put up a barrier and high cedar fence so we others don't see his shed and don't have flooding, but we have a towering shed that is right up against the easement. The same property also backs onto another neighbour (yards offset so we back onto 2 yards) and they agreed to add shrubs and pay for half the fence, but since we are fairly new they just decided to go ahead without talking to us. Maybe the shed is legal because it's on stilts but unless it's blocked by them or us, I'm afraid that this must affect our property value.
Sr. Member
Jan 11, 2008
646 posts
97 upvotes
Toronto
Definitely call the city to see what the exact restrictions are with sheds. Although it might a square footage test (10' x 10' or 100 sq ft seems to be a typical size not needing a permit in a few places within Ontario), I'm not sure if there's a height restriction that's somehow buried within a building code or bylaw somewhere.
Deal Addict
Nov 21, 2007
3199 posts
1077 upvotes
Scarborough
Ziggy007 wrote: Sounds like your neighbors priority list doesn't have you anywhere near it.

You should do the same and call the bylaw office over.
+1!

The selfishness among us is prevalent....OP, can you upload a pic?

Just this lovely morning I took a short stroll about me neighborhood. I come across immaculate houses only to find them sandwiched by 6"+ grass, dandelions, junk....these slobs have no self respect..
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 19, 2004
9139 posts
2045 upvotes
Cambridge, ON
I agree with others, call the city and find out the height restrictions on the shed. It may not have needed a permit in terms of square foot size, but in terms of height, it would likely have needed a permit to put it up on stilts like that. Whether they have a permit or not remains to be seen.

It sounds like it is the natural sloping of the area so they would be under no obligation to put up retaining walls or the like. In fact they would require a permit to do that as it would alter the grading and expected water run off. Now the additional erosion from the shed now will likely increase the water issues so again, goes back to the shed permit.

And again, since this would be the original grading by the sounds of it, I would look at your own yard and see if something has been changed in your yard to affect grading (extra soil added over the years, raised gardens around the yard edges, etc.). If so, it could be your yard that is causing the problem.

Complaining about a fence that others have done is pointless. If you want a fence, put up a fence. Nothing stopping you from doing that. Talk to the neighbour about splitting the cost. Definitely can't place the full onus on the neighbour for this and expect them to put up a fence and/or trees. No reason why you can't put up a fence and trees on your side.
Sr. Member
Jul 7, 2010
805 posts
107 upvotes
burbs
Samwfive wrote: Just this lovely morning I took a short stroll about me neighborhood. I come across immaculate houses only to find them sandwiched by 6"+ grass, dandelions, junk....these slobs have no self respect..
LOL. just yesterday walked through million dollar homes, many with 2 MB's in driveway, and lawns covered in dandelions, outside of houses looking like crap. can afford to live there and have nice car but haven't coughed up the $300/yr for weedman.........
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jan 27, 2007
5108 posts
971 upvotes
T.
Neighbour wont do a thing.

Go to the city.
[QUOTE]I know you are, but what am I.... ;) [/QUOTE]
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
13306 posts
741 upvotes
aubgray wrote: LOL. just yesterday walked through million dollar homes, many with 2 MB's in driveway, and lawns covered in dandelions, outside of houses looking like crap. can afford to live there and have nice car but haven't coughed up the $300/yr for weedman.........
Some of us don't care to spend money on that...

Of course I think that a grass lawn is an evil environmental nightmare...

Dandelions are pretty...you can also harvest the leaves and roots...Great for you.
Deal Addict
Aug 19, 2013
2397 posts
1085 upvotes
You bought a house at the bottom of a natural slope and now want your neighbours to do something about it? Sorry your out of luck and if it bothers you then you should have thought about that when you bought the house. And you can't expect a neighbour to put up a fence or trees just so you don't see their shed. If your so concerned then put up your own fence or trees.

We bought our current house a year ago. The fence at the back is in really bad shape and needs to be replaced. But we won't get to it for a couple more years. Our entire backyard was in really rough shape and we working at getting everything done but we can't do everything at once. Our neighbours behind us like to complain to us all time that it looks horrid and needs to be done. Yet I don't see them doing anything about it. They are just expecting us to do the work (the fence sits on the property line).
Deal Guru
Mar 14, 2005
13811 posts
2504 upvotes
Samwfive wrote: ...The selfishness among us is prevalent....OP, can you upload a pic?...
NOt sure if it's legal to take a picture of your neighbour's back yard from inside your property, and then post it online. Probably ok if you take the pic from public property.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 16, 2007
3906 posts
1027 upvotes
Toronto
This world is filled with a bunch of babies.
If something bothers you man up and speak to your neigbour. (This applies to many other threads as well)

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