Relationships with neighbours can be a very strange beast. Unless your neighbour shares your interest in hairless cats and Viking metal, or unless you have both managed to keep a pleasantly low profile (nice work for avoiding the social awkwardness that exists between two unrelated people who have nothing in common, besides sharing a boundary!), then you probably have a “difficult” neighbour.
And if you happen to have one of these “difficult” neighbours (you probably have a more colourful expression for them), then you may have a problem if you are wanting to subdivide your property. You may need to connect your development to a public stormwater or wastewater drain located in their property…and you will need their permission to do this (we see the blood draining from your face right now).
But fear not, because all is not lost. Firstly, some law. In a situation where a neighbour is withholding their permission to connect to public drains located in their property, section 460 of the Local Government Act 1970 provides the Council with the ability to pass a resolution to enter onto that property, construct the public drainage, and recover the costs of installing that drainage from the neighbour.
However, this is generally not the preferred, or recommended approach, due to the time and costs associated with getting a resolution from Council. Rather, the approach we see having the best success rate is where a third party, such as a planner, engineer or property specialist is appointed to facilitate an agreement with the neighbour. This can take the heat out of negotiations with the neighbour, and allow the parties to reach a mutually acceptable agreement – sometimes that agreement may be subject to conditions like replacement of the neighbour’s fencing, maintaining their existing vegetation, or replanting along a boundary.
So, the moral of this story is obviously “love thy neighbour” if you want to connect drains through their property…but if that wasn’t possible, then we suggest you find someone else who can love them for you.
If you would like more information about the services that Thomas Consultants can offer to facilitate an agreement with a neighbour to connect drainage through their property, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We assist with land subdivision in NZ, and our multi-disciplinary team include environmental consultants and building surveyors.