Neighbourly Relations: 4 Potential Sources of Conflict and How to Resolve Them

Neighbourly Relations: 4 Potential Sources of Conflict and How to Resolve Them

It’s not always easy to get along with the neighbours. It can, in fact, sometimes be difficult to know how to respond to certain issues that come up.

To avoid a matter becoming a source of tension all while asserting your rights, you must be well informed. You can do this by contacting your municipality to learn more about the bylaws in effect, or by getting in touch with a specialist lawyer. Here are a few examples and how to deal with each situation. 

I would like to go onto my neighbour’s yard to trim my hedges and repair the back of my shed. Is this allowed?

Whether it be to get some work done or to simply retrieve a ball thrown too far, you have to ask your neighbour’s permission before you enter their yard: private property is private.

However, according to Éducaloi, when you must have access to an adjoining property to maintain or build on your own property, your neighbour cannot really refuse. Nevertheless, your reason must be valid: the law only allows a person to go onto their neighbour’s land if there are no other alternatives.

Moreover, your neighbour can deny you access if they believe your request to be unjustified and that you can complete your work without entering their property.

The solution: No matter the reason, if you must gain access to a neighbour’s property, ask their permission, either verbally or in writing. If they refuse for what you feel are baseless motives, contact your municipality.


When my neighbour drains their spa, some of the water runs onto my yard. This is irritating. Are they allowed to do this? 

Firstly, be aware that all property owners are responsible for ensuring that no water, nor snow and ice, flows onto adjacent properties, whether the source is at ground level, such as a pool or spa, or the roof, from the gutters, for example.

The solution: Inform your neighbour of what is happening and request that they find a way of preventing the water from spilling into your yard. If changes are not made within a reasonable timeframe, contact your municipality.


My neighbour has added a window to their home that looks directly into my kitchen. I feel like my privacy is being invaded and I don’t like it.

The rule states that clear glass windows and doors cannot be installed within 1.5 metres of two lots’ dividing line; however, the rules are different when the window or door looks onto a street or park.

The solution: If the new window violates this rule, you can notify your municipality. You could also negotiate an accommodation with your neighbour, such as asking them to apply a frosted film to the glass, so you can live with the window where it is.

My neighbour has installed paving which extends over my property line. I don’t want to tell them to pull it up, but this is still unfair to me. What can I do?

With an up-to-date location certificate, it is far more straightforward to determine lot boundaries. If you are certain about your information, the first step is to notify your neighbour of the issue. They might themselves decide to remove the paving material, especially if this is simple to do, like with interlocking stones. For that matter, the law stipulates that one neighbour cannot encroach on another’s piece of land.

The solution: If the neighbour would like to work out an arrangement to avoid having to redo their paving, you can come to an amicable settlement: financial compensation for the lost land or the purchase of the portion encroached upon. In either case, we recommend that you hire a notary to make sure the agreement is clear and doesn’t cause you any problems when you decide to sell your home.


Just remember that communication is key when disputes or unpleasant situations occur between neighbours. In most cases, a mutually satisfactory solution can be found, and a friendly relationship maintained.

RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

A leader in the real estate industry since 1982, the RE/MAX network brings together the most efficient brokers.