2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lack of an "honest belief": BC Court orders neighbours to remove encroaching barn and shed

One neighbour (G) has a barn and a shed that protrude onto another neighbour's (N's) property.  The barn is used for stabling horses and the shed is used for storage and has an attached chicken coop.  The situation ended up in BC Supreme Court where N proposed two options: 1) shared use of the barn and the shed; or, failing that, 2) an order for removal of the encroaching structures within 6 months.  According to the Court, each neighbour accused the other of being unreasonable and uncompromising about the encroachments.

G sought an order that there is an easement permitting the encroachments.  Although G knew about the encroachment before purchasing the property, G suggested that reliance had been placed on the representations made by the previous owner of N's property when G dealt with the barn and shed (choosing to maintain and improve the buildings, rather than remove them).   The Court ruled that G would not obtain an easement, largely on the basis that G did not have an "honest belief" about having the easement in the first place:
G purchased their property knowing specifically that the barn and shed and surrounding land encroached on their neighbour’s property. They now seek to obtain by court order what they did not bargain for in the first place. In essence, the G position is that the simplest and easiest solution from their point of view is for the court to grant them an easement over the N property or to allow them to buy the encroaching area, for modest compensation.
The Court ordered that the barn and shed encroachments, including buildings and fencing, be removed from N's property within 9 months.  The Court declined to order that half of the cost of doing so be borne by N, finding no reason to do so. 

Read the decision at: Gueldner v. Nichele.