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How Close Can I Build to My Neighbor’s Property in Jamaica?

by Janet
(St. Andrew, Jamaica)

Where can I find the laws regarding how close one neighbor can build to the boundary of another?

I am interested in knowing how close someone can build a single storey building to the boundary of another private residence in the parish of St. Andrew and what the restrictions are for each additional storey.
Janet.



RESPONSE: by Deon Clarke REVIEWED: by Sheree-Anita Shearer







Hi Janet,

Thank you for stopping by the website and for your questions. I will provide you with as much information as possible.

Where can I find the laws regarding how close one neighbor can build to the boundary of another?



Let me answer the first part of your question about where to find laws regarding how close one neighbor can build to the boundary of another. You can find the answer to this in the laws from the sources listed below:


  1. The National Building Code of Jamaica cited as “The Building Act, 2018”.
    Website:https://japarliament.gov.jm/attachments/article/339/The%20Building%20Act,%202018.pdf
  2. Check with the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) for guidance
  3. Check with the National Land Agency (NLA) for guidance


Now to the second part of your question.

How closely can a person put a single storey building to the boundary of another private residence in St. Andrew? What are the restrictions for each additional storey?



There is actually no one determination or outlined setback distance for buildings in St Andrew - or for any other parish in Jamaica for that matter. The distance for setbacks will vary from one development to another, one community to another and in some instances, from one property to another.

The setback distance for a property is actually determined by what the restrictive covenant of title states. Therefore, you can have two adjoining properties and the boundaries or setback distances may be different as one title may have been done before the other or at different periods in time.

There are some communities however, where the setback for the buildings are normally homogeneous meaning that they are the same for the particular area. This could be as a result of the development being done by the same developer as well as there would have been a stipulation from the local authority, the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) in this case. Although there is no standard setback distance for St Andrew, the KSAC will more than likely have a minimum distance that it will not grant approval for if the request falls short of that distance.

Regardless of how high you decide to build vertically, whether it’s one, two or three stories, the stipulated setback in your registered title in the restrictive covenant must always be maintained.

It is important to note that the setback should be to the eaves of the building unless otherwise stated in the restrictive covenant that the eaves are not to be considered as a part of the building.

You can build legally and without the permission of your neighbor or your neighbor can build legally without your permission. However, you or your neighbor must get permission from the local authority that governs the parish or municipality or the KSAC in your case.

If a two storey has been built without the permission of the parish council, then it could be reported to the KSAC.

If anyone has done construction and has breached the setback distance as stipulated by the restrictive covenant on their title then there is no course of action, but to report it to the KSAC. However, if there is no encroachment on your property, you cannot take any action since the breach would be on their property and only someone with an interest in the property such as a mortgage company if the property is under a mortgage or the parish council which is the planning and regulatory authority can address this issue.

Therefore, it is imperative for you and all property owners to observe and obey the restrictive covenants that are stipulated on your titles.

I do hope the information provided will prove useful to you and other readers.

Thanks again.


I also recommend you read How to split a piece of land in Jamaica.


Regards,
DC


References:

  • "How close can my neighbour build to me?", Jamaica Gleaner, https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20150607/how-close-can-my-neighbour-build-me
  • "A Handy Listing of Jamaican laws", My-Island-Jamaica, https://www.my-island-jamaica.com/jamaican_laws.html
  • "Laws of Jamaica", The Supreme Court Jamaica, https://www.supremecourt.gov.jm/content/laws-jamaica
  • "The Kingston and St. Andrew Building Act", Ministry of Juistice, https://moj.gov.jm/sites/default/files/laws/The%20Kingston%20And%20St.%20Andrew 20Building%20Act.pdf
  • "The Building Act", Houses of Parliment, https://japarliament.gov.jm/attachments/article/339/The%20Building%20Act,%202018.pdf



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