Czechia: Infringement of ownership rights when buildings are too close

Plaintiffs sought a court injunction of activities which in their view infringed upon the exercise of their ownership rights: the structural integration of neighboring buildings with their own family home, and generally their placement in overly close proximity to the said house.

An action for a negative injunction is the remedy of choice against infringements of ownership (other than unlawful possession). Examples include e.g. the unauthorized use of roads or ways across the owner’s property, and more generally trespassing by foot or vehicle, drawing water from the owner’s well, landscaping of (or placement of diverse items on) third-party land, commencing construction activities on third-party land, etc.

This means that a claim for a negative injunction can be used to protect oneself against infringements which have direct impact on the owner’s property and thus interfere with the exercise of the owner’s rights. However, it is not possible to use a negative injunction to attain protection of one’s title to a property against activities which do not immediately affect the property – even if they make the owner’s access to their own land difficult and impossible (which is clearly a de-facto restriction of the exercise of one’s ownership rights) – as long as these activities take place on the land of a person other than the one who seeks protection in court. This is because the right to have access to a given land plot across third-party property ultimately is not part of the ownership title to that land, even though it is obviously desirable in principle that all land plots should be accessible, if at all possible.

In the case at hand, the lawsuit was dismissed because expert opinions showed that the buildings of the defendant made no use whatsoever of plaintiff’s family home in terms of structural stress, did not rest or lean on them, and did not share ground anchoring. All buildings of the defendant have their own load-bearing structure and are independent from plaintiff’s house and do not use the load-bearing system of the latter. Nor does the plaintiff’s house serve as the retaining back wall of defendant’s buildings.

NS 22 Cdo 3742/2019.

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