Neighborhood inconveniences are very common and among these, mowing the lawn at certain times is a regular occurrence. To ensure the peace and quiet of residents, there is often a municipal regulation that governs this subject.
For example, in Waterloo, municipal regulations prohibit the use of noisy gardening tools (chainsaws, lawn mowers, etc.) between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. on weekdays as well as on Sundays and public holidays.
However, one region is not the other.
Depending on location and times
Thus, if the same regulations are in force in Neufchâteau, the Ardennes regulations however make an exception for agricultural or forestry machines in the exercise of exploitation.
Finally, in Brussels, the regulations are somewhat different regarding weekday hours since the noise legislation prohibits, for the entire Region, mowers and gardening machines powered by a motor between 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
In the event of non-compliance with these provisions, the offender is liable to administrative sanctions. Therefore, the victim of noise pollution during these prohibited hours must file a complaint with the police to have the offense noted and, possibly, initiate a sanction procedure.
Let us also remember, independently of these regulations, that on a civil level, any person is likely to incur liability towards their neighbors if they are the cause of a disturbance. unnatural neighborhood. The particularity of this responsibility is that the author of the trouble does not necessarily have to be at fault. The examples are very varied and depend a lot on the context. This could be damage caused to neighboring property during work, a dog that barks too frequently, or even trees that have become too big. In this case, the victim could seek legal compensation for the damage they have suffered. In our opinion, however, with regard to lawn mowing, it would have to be irregular on numerous occasions to constitute, for the victim, a compensable disturbance of enjoyment.
Still on a civil level, life in co-ownership is organized by the statutes of the residence, so that if the noise pollution comes from a co-owner of your building, the latter is likely to incur liability if he contravenes a provision of the statutes of the building.
Neighborhood conflicts can easily escalate and make life impossible. We must therefore advocate dialogue and mediation, at the risk of seeing a conflict get bogged down and lead to sometimes significant consequences in human or financial terms.
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One way out can be conciliation before the justice of the peace. Thus, any person can have their neighbor summoned before the justice of the peace to present a dispute. To do this, simply go to the justice of the peace registry and complete a form. The judge listens to the parties and tries to reach an agreement, or even to reason with the protagonists. If an agreement is entered into, it constitutes a judgment and can be executed. This procedure also has the advantage of being free.
Finally, what about automatic lawn mowers? The latter generally cause little noise, and are therefore excluded from what we have just explained, but constitute a real danger for another very local inhabitant: the hedgehog. Therefore, municipal regulations generally prescribe that this type of device cannot be used during the night, a period during which these friendly mammals are often out and about.
Who is Vincent Defraiteur, the author of this text?
Me Vincent Defraiteur is a lawyer at the Brussels Bar (vda-law.be) and assistant in property law at ULB and in Saint-Louis.
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This series is a partnership between La Libre and the French Order of the Brussels Bar.