As renovations are made and the property is extended, doubts and impasses arise with neighbors about the boundary of the living area. These should always be resolved by talking and good communication with the neighbors. In addition to the municipal law, which is the one that regulates and provides answers to most of these questions. So how close to the property line can I build a patio?

The building specifications that regulate the municipality law vary from state to state. So our main recommendation is that you check with the municipality or download the law from an official site so that you have all the requirements before you start building; if you don’t follow them you will be liable to multiple fines.

  • If you are building a deck, patio, or porch, you will need a plan, which shows the location of the deck/patio/porch and its size and height, indicating the setbacks from property lines.
  • Steps and strip lank should be spaced well apart, and parapet planks should be secured with specific types of lag bolts.
  • Any deck over 100 square feet or of any size that is higher than 2 feet will require a building permit.
  • When a deck is less than 2 feet in height it must usually be set back 4 feet from the side yard lot lines and rear yard lot lines.
  • If the deck is greater than 2 feet from the ground it must set back 4 feet from the side yard lot lines and 11 feet 6 inches from the rear yard lot line.
  • Building permits must include a building permit issued by the county and the process requires municipal approval from the city.

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Generally, the municipality’s law states this law, but what is constant is that the building line between your property and your neighbor’s property must be at least 5 feet or 5 feet up to 6 feet before the abutting property.

But as with everything that has to do with parties (neighbors) it is necessary to talk it over and come to an agreement, respecting the laws of the municipality.

How close to the property line can a deck be?

The first thing is to establish the boundaries of your property, to how close to the property line can I build a patio, this way you are not breaking any laws.

Which is often known as the superstructure, but also regulates the infrastructure that corresponds to the footings, which must stand well-spaced and located below the frost line to prevent them from moving in cold temperatures. Steps and stringers should ideally match spacing, and parapet boards should typically be secure with specific types of lag bolts.

For example…

As an example, we bring in the New York code, in which decks can only project 8 feet from the front, and the following specifications:

  • There must be at least 1ft between the deck or porch and the property line on the sides.
  • All decks and porches must have a railing at least 3,5ft high.
  • Spaces between railings and/or posts cannot be greater than 5in.

Raised decks and porches must be braced between beams and columns and support a minimum of 40 pounds per square foot, plus the weight of the deck and porch. The construction material is important.

Decks and porches must be anchored to a house or building and material use restrictions apply near lot lines and multiple dwellings.

It is prohibited to use the space under a deck for storage.

If it is not properly constructed it may be demolished. If somehow the Department of Buildings becomes aware of your “illegal deck”, an inspector may be sent to your home to verify the validity of the claim. The inspector can, and in most cases will issue a violation, initiating a bureaucratic process.

How close can you build next to a property line?

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This is stipulated by municipal law, but before you know what the stipulations are, you can determine the boundaries of your home as follows:

  • Consult the documents relating to the purchase of the land. You can use a deed to determine the boundaries of your property. When the deed is drawn up, it specifies the extent of the land on all sides and how it should be described.
  • You can consult a surveyor, who can survey the land and establish the boundaries of the parcel.
  • Permanent markers will indicate the distance you can build to the property boundary.

Communicate with your neighbor. So that you can discuss and delimit the boundaries of the plots before starting any permanent or semi-permanent project; due to the risk of municipal or county sanctions.

Find out from your local council or hire a terrace installer. They will tell you how close you can get to your neighbor’s fence without breaking the law.

Licensed surveyors say that homeowners should be careful if they try to build a patio or deck on a neighbor’s boundaries.

Other considerations

Pauline Maisonneuve, the senior solicitor at the Building Professionals Board, says that for liability reasons: “The owner wants to enjoy the view, but should be aware that if a person falls next to the neighbor and is injured, the insurance will not cover him

We already know that the main thing to do before starting to build is to go to the city hall and ask for a consultation and if possible hire an engineer; Who will not only take care of the construction but also of the relevant legislation so as not to commit infractions.

It is also essential that you establish how close to the property line can I build a patio before you start, either with deeds, with the help of a surveyor, or by talking to your neighbor. If you know where it starts and ends, you will not encroach on your neighbor’s property.

Read more: Prescriptive easement

How close to a property line can I build a patio? was last modified: April 14th, 2023 by Vanessa Gallanti
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