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When things go wrong: the top legal issues homeowners face

Mar 23, 2020.

Your neighbour’s tree is blocking your view, the tradesman has done poor-quality work and youngsters have destroyed your garden fence: as a homeowner, you can be confronted with a variety of legal issues. These are the most common problems – and tips on how to resolve them efficiently.

The most common disputes. The best solutions.

You’ve bought a house or apartment? Congratulations! Many things change when you become a homeowner, especially the legal situation. You now have more responsibility than ever before and will often be confronted with legal matters and disagreements. The situations that lead to legal disputes involving homeowners are the same every time. You suddenly have to deal with topics such as contracts for work, construction law and neighbours’ rights.


But when you know where the stumbling blocks lie, in a best-case scenario you can avoid them completely. Should problems nevertheless arise, it’s important to know how and where to defend yourself. As a general rule: if involved in a dispute, seek the professional advice of a legal expert. Good legal protection insurance will not only provide you with financial support. Thanks to the depth of knowledge and expertise behind it, you will also get tips and recommendations on steps you can take to prevent problems.

When neighbours cause trouble

Your next-door neighbours want to build an extension and ignore the boundary lines to your property. Their oak tree has now grown so high that it’s blocking your sunlight. Or maybe they hold loud parties and the smoke from their barbecue drifts into your bedroom? What starts off as a friendly complaint can end up in court.


The topic of boundary lines leads to a jungle of legislation, where various articles and public planning laws apply. Let a professional clarify your personal situation for you.


If you’re no longer prepared to put up with the emissions caused by your neighbours, the rules of neighbour law apply. An expert must decide whether or not the emissions are excessive.


When condominium owners fight

You can do whatever you like within your own four walls. But when it comes to green spaces, common hallways or façades, the condominium homeowners’ association as a whole decides. You need to agree with others how maintenance, costs and obligations are to be handled. The legal bases can be found, among other places, in the Swiss Civil Code. It’s worth reading the association’s articles and by-laws carefully, as they usually contain the answers to all the important questions.


When tradesmen do poor quality work

The tiles in the bathroom are falling off the wall, the window won’t close properly and there are cracks in the plaster. Building or structural alteration work involves a number of tradesmen that are hired on the basis of a contract for work – either by you or the site manager. If you find defects that lead to discussions, you can have an expert opinion drawn up. Whenever possible, try to settle the case out of court. It will save you time and money and spare your nerves.


Cases like this can happen to any homeowner. The legal experts at Fortuna Legal Protection Insurance will help you find the best solution for your legal problem. With legal protection insurance that provides comprehensive cover.















Andreas Cossalter, Head of First Touch Customer Experience, Fortuna Legal Protection


Our “First Touch Customer Experience” team at Fortuna is made up of legal specialists who are dedicated to the legal problems that our policyholders face in their day-to-day lives. The team offers you immediate legal assistance via the telephone hotline and also supports our policyholders with informative articles and useful letter templates on our website.