French couple angry as neighbour’s wall blocks sun

A couple have filed a legal complaint against a neighbour who built a wall 6m high and 17m in length along one edge of their property.

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The complainants say the construction – nearly twice as tall as the Berlin Wall at its highest point – has blocked sunlight to their garden.

The couple, from Damelevières, in the north-eastern department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, said they were not informed about the scale of the building work.

A number of efforts to resolve the dispute amicably have fallen on deaf ears.

Because of the lack of sunshine, the couple have decided not to build a swimming pool for their seven-year-old child.

The wall’s owner said he had been granted the necessary permission from local authorities to build the wall.

But permission may not be enough, as another similar case from the same department indicates. In December 2017, a woman was ordered to demolish an extension by France’s highest appeal court because it blocked sun to her neighbour’s house.

The move came despite the fact she had planning permission for the two-storey 135m2 extension in Essey-lès-Nancy.

She was planning to offer rooms for rent. But a neighbour started legal action in 2011 as the extension shaded her single-storey house.

A court ordered the owner to demolish the extension by February 2016.

It also ordered that she had to pay €50 a day to the neighbour for each day after the deadline that the extension was still standing.

After taking her appeal against the demolition order all the way to the Cour de Cassation, the woman had exhausted her final appeal in France – and was left facing €12,000 in lawyers’ fees, on top of the €178,000 mortgage that had funded the extension.