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Compensation for building house causing adjacent houses and surrounding areas’ subsidence.

Mr. Tran Van A is my neighbor living next to my house and digging a foundation to build a hotel. However, in the process of digging a foundation, a part of my house has sunk and there were many cracks on the wall. When finding out, I talk to Mr. A about the crack and asked him to fix my house but Mr. A suggested that his construction built on the ground was not related to my house and I have no right to ask for his compensation. I would like to know if he violates the law provisions. Do I have the right to ask the Court to resolve and ask Mr. A for compensation for building house causing adjacent my house’s subsidence?

FDVN’s opinion:

Sincerely thank you for your concerning our legal consulting service. We are glad to give you our advice for your question.

Firstly, law provisions on construction principles:

According to Article 174 of Civil Code 2015 on the obligation to respect building regulations: “When constructing a project, the owners and holders of other property-related rights must comply with the law on construction, ensure safety. It may not build beyond the height and distance specified by the law on construction and infringes the legitimate rights and interests of owners of adjoining and surrounding immovable properties.”

Besides, Article 8 of Circular No. 05/2015/TT-BXD dated on October 30, 2015, providing for the management of construction quality and maintenance of detached houses:

Article 8. Solution of dispute and actions against violations

  1. Before the construction, the owner shall initiative greet the owners or the managers/users of adjacent and neighboring works for checking the current conditions and take note the defects (if any) of the adjacent/neighboring works. The owners or the managers/users of adjacent and neighboring works shall cooperate with such owner in checking and recording current conditions of their houses as the basis for the solution of any disputes arising.
  2. During the construction process, if an adjacent/neighboring work denotes subsidence, crack, absorption, leakage or is likely to collapse due to such construction, the owner of the house shall contact the owner/manager/user of such adjacent/neighboring work for inspecting to determine the causes and to negotiate remedial measures. If the parties cannot negotiate an agreement, the arising dispute shall be solved according to law provisions.
  3. Administrative violations in housing construction shall be handled according to law provisions on construction and other relevant law provisions.”

Thus, during the construction process, owners shall comply with law provisions, not to affect and cause damage to the properties of adjacent houses and surrounding areas. Before the construction, the owner shall initiative greet the owners or the managers/users of adjacent and neighboring works for checking the current conditions and take note the defects (if any) of the adjacent/neighboring works.

Mr. A is infringing upon your legal rights and interests to your house since his construction is the main reason for your house’s subsidence. He violates the construction principles and has to take responsibility for repairing the damages and compensation.

Secondly, obligations of construction contractors affect the owners, managers, and users of adjacent works.

According to Article 605 of Civil Code 2015 on Compensation for damage caused by houses and other construction works or buildings: “An owner or a possessor of a house or another construction work, or a person to which the owner has assigned the management or use thereof, must compensate for damage if such house or construction causes damage to another person.”

Handling administrative violations: Acts of building construction affecting adjacent infrastructure works shall be sanctioned for administrative violations according to Clause 3 Article 15 of Decree No. 139/2017/NĐ-CP dated on November 27, 2017, on penalties for administrative violations against regulations on investment and construction:

“3. The following penalties shall be imposed for executing the construction works inconsistently with regulations on quality management of construction works causing subsidence, crack or damage to technical infrastructure facilities or adjacent works (if relevant parties fail to reach an amicable agreement on compensation for damage in accordance with the civil law), or causing collapse or risk of collapse to adjacent works without causing harm to human health or life:

a) A fine ranging from VND 3,000,000 to VND 5,000,000 shall be imposed for construction of single-detached house in a rural area or execution of a construction work other than the cases prescribed in Point b and Point c of this Clause;

b) A fine ranging from VND 15,000,000 to VND 20,000,000 shall be imposed for construction of single-detached house in the urban area;

c) A fine ranging from VND 20,000,000 to VND 30,000,000 shall be imposed for construction of the work requiring the formulation of economic – technical report or construction project.”

Civil compensation: If Mr. A, in the process of building the house, causes damage to your house, he must stop that process and be responsible for compensating for the damage caused by his work. The compensation for damages shall be agreed by the two parties. If the parties cannot reach an agreement on the compensation level for non-contractual damages, one of the parties may request the Court to settle.

The court shall base on the cause of the damages and the actual level of damages to give a specific level of compensation, including the actual level of damages to the damaged adjacent building and the relating costs. Therefore, you need to prove that the vibrations and cracks in your house caused by the construction of neighbors’ house.

Above are the advice of FDVN Limited Law Firm base on studying law provisions and theories. We hope that our opinions would be useful.

Legal Expert: Duong Hoai Thuong

FDVN Law Company

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