Neighbor’s Garage Foundation - No Permit

33 Replies

I purchased a home 2 years ago and am now looking to refi into a second home and rent out my current house.

Our neighbor installed a massive foundation that’s an eyesore and visible from our backyard patio (not to mention the street). This was installed before we bought, but come to find out, they never pulled a permit and were shut down. Now the foundation is just sitting there.

I’m not entirely sure what happens from here. Is there any recourse to getting it removed prior to me renting out my place?

"eyesore" Yikes. Are you trying to say the neighbor cannot install a concrete slab on their land?

You should explore three paths:

1. Ask them to uninstall the foundation

2. Complain to the appropriate city department so they possibly get fined

3. See a lawyer. Maybe you can sue them.

To be honest, as someone that owns property with an "unsightly" (whatever that means) structure on it, I'd just throw your request in the trash.

Thanks @James Galla . I should have provided a bit more info. Unfortunately I’ve never met the owner but I’m definitely going to try to get ahold of him.

For what it’s worth, The foundation is 8’ above grade and not just a slab on grade.

The foundation however does not meet the county setback requirements and is too close to the property line.

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8 feet above grade? What? So a MASSIVE concrete block/slab? That doesn't make sense. No one builds an above-grade cube of concrete. It serves no purpose.

Maybe you ought to come back down to reality and ignore it. You're either overemphasizing the impact of the structure or you aren't perceiving it properly.

Frankly, if the issue is arising through county setback requirements, you ought to consider another investment path. The normal renter isn't coming through and cross-referencing the neighbor's lack of meeting the setback requirements.

I mean, are you dealing with high-end rentals or something? That's when this stuff may be applicable.

I doubt he removes it. He likely spent a bunch of money on that foundation and is waiting on a rainy day to complete the project.

Can it be hidden by a row of hedges or a small fence or something? 

Why did you buy the house then with such an ugly PREEXISTING eyesore?

Whether it is permitted or not, ratting out your neighbor for something that was there before you were is in my opinion pretty scummy. 

It's like people who build a home next to a racetrack that has been around for 40 years then complain about the noise. (Racetrack eventually had to shutdown)

Just put up a row of tall bushes and mind your business.

Originally posted by @James Galla :

8 feet above grade? What? So a MASSIVE concrete block/slab? That doesn't make sense. No one builds an above-grade cube of concrete. It serves no purpose.

Maybe you ought to come back down to reality and ignore it. You're either overemphasizing the impact of the structure or you aren't perceiving it properly.

Frankly, if the issue is arising through county setback requirements, you ought to consider another investment path. The normal renter isn't coming through and cross-referencing the neighbor's lack of meeting the setback requirements.

I mean, are you dealing with high-end rentals or something? That's when this stuff may be applicable.

 James, pretty common to have part of a foundation 8 ft above grade. Ots either on a sloping piece of land or in a flood zone. It is very common here in the flood zones for homes to be lifted 8ft. It creates a garage type of space underneath the house.

Huge mistake coming into the neighborhood and then expecting other people to make changes to accommodate you. This is a recipe for disaster. My question to you is how would you like to have something that’s already existing somebody move in and then find out that you might not pull the permit or it was done incorrectly and then they sue you?

You bought the house knowing the garage was there.  Plant some trees next to it that will hide the foundation.  Make sure they are hedge style trees that grow tall and narrow.  You could also put up a partial fence or trellis and plant some vines to cover it up.  The lattice work will do a quicker job of blocking out the foundation.

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Yes there are things you can do. Because this is unpermitted, and he was shut down there is apparently some from of code enforcement case that was opened. Call them and complain, and they can force him to demo it by re-opening the code case and requiring he legally demo the structure. He never should have had the previous case closed if there was still an active violation like an unpermitted structure. Now he may have the ability to bring it into compliance by getting a retroactive permit and a variance for the setback, but that will also resolve your issue.

@Zach McLean

I'm just curious it's a slab of cement is your property in like a Beverly Hills style neighborhood is it such an eyesore cause it's a slab of cement? Is the neighbor's house all tore up and dirty and a big eye sore Just trying to get a better picture of how about a slab of cement could be

@Matt Devincenzo

Man don't make him fight with his neighbors your such a California person that's why I'm getting the hell out of here @!!!it's a slab of cement plant some trees and forget about it You saw it there when you bought the property don't rat out your neighbor that's not a good way to start things out you don't know you may need him some day to it's just a slab of cement

Definitely not a Beverly Hills type area. The foundation is a 20’x20’ concrete box. The perimeter walls are approx 12” thick and 8’ tall with openings in the front for the cars. The back of the foundation is on an upward sloping hill.

These responses are giving me some different perspectives.

Thanks for the insight @Gina Cardarella

@Zach McLean

I would suggest talk to the neighbor, and ask them the story about the "eyesore" and consider if there is any way to help them complete the project, win-win for both of you, the neighbor may be able to apply for a permit and submit plans,

And go from there. Worst case they may need a zoning variance which would in most areas require both city/municipal approval and neighborhood approval, which you could offer to help on the neighborhood part.

Just a thought, which would help both of you

@Zach McLean . Don’t start a problem where a problem doesn’t exist especially with your neighbor not everybody has the same tolerances and handle situations the same way you do. Especially if you have more money than them it is a form of bullying and it never know how they will respond especially if they are already under pressure. Don’t force their hand.