I feared seeing naked people in my neighbour’s garden after they built 8ft decking – so I MOVED house
A DAD claims he was forced to leave his home after a two-year row with his neighbour over decking that would have let him “see naked people” from his kitchen.
David Boettiger from Sydney, Australia ended up spending £50k in legal fees in a bid to have his neighbour Wassim Rahman’s pool deck lowered.
Eventually, after a two-year legal battle, the dad felt he had no choice but to leave the place his family had called home for 40 years.
After seeking out Mr Rahman’s plans, Mr Boettiger was horrified to discover that the new house included a pool deck level with his 1.8m garden fence.
He claimed that “semi-naked” swimmers on the pool deck would easily be visible from his kitchen window.
Mr Boettiger told news.com.au: “We could see that the house was being demolished but nobody ever told us what was happening.”
He also had concerns that the water from the pool could splash into their property.
“They could do a bomb in the pool while we’re hanging out our washing,” he said.
“People get semi-naked, maybe even naked on a pool deck and we were looking straight into it from our kitchen and back deck.
“I would have also had people be able to walk straight from the deck and onto my property.”
Mr Boettiger claimed that he had no inkling of the scale of his next-door neighbour’s plans until the demolition started.
In August 2020, the Australian said he woke up to the sounds of heavy construction in his home in the Sydney suburb of Oatley.
It was the start of a two-year battle which he claims caused him to suffer from anxiety and depression.
Builders Saf Developments have denied Mr Boettiger’s claims that neighbours weren’t told of the plans, and said a private certifier had informed the surrounding homes on July 9.
Frustrated, he launched legal proceedings in April 2020, despite being told his best-case scenario was a loss of $20,000 Australian (£11.4k).
He said he wouldn’t have taken action – which cost $100,000 Australian (£57k) if it wasn’t for the pool deck.
Eventually, through mediation in the Land and Environment Court, Mr Rahman’s deck was reduced to one metre, while vegetation was planted along the fence for better privacy.
Mr Boettiger also received $20k Australian (£11.4k) towards his legal fees.
People get semi-naked, maybe even naked on a pool deck and we were looking straight into it from our kitchen and back deck
However, despite technically ‘winning’ the case, he eventually moved away from Oatley, due to what he says was the “complete anxiety” caused by the past two years.
Mr Rahman hired private certifier Rianda Barnes to ensure his property was constructed in line with building codes and used a complying development certificate (CDC).
A CDC is an alternative to a development application (DA), which has to be lodged with the local council that publishes the plans.
Mr Boettiger claimed that construction continued while he was in the process of trying to appeal to the certifier and the council to amend the deck.
But Ms Barnes said that she could “100 per cent confirm” that the 14-day neighbour notification was provided to surrounding houses on July 8, 2020, with approval for the build being issued on August 14 of that year.
She said that during the court case Mr Boettiger’s claims were addressed and satisfied and that she provided evidence of the neighbour notification letter.
Speaking to the Daily Mail Australia, Ms Barnes said the pool deck was lowered “at the request of the owner to pacify (Mr Boettiger) and not due to any noncompliance with the approval”.
She also provided proof of the CDC which was sent to Oatley residents.
In a statement provided to news.com.au, Saf developments maintained it has done “no wrong” in the matter and said the property had been built in a way that satisfies regulations.
It claims the private certifier informed all tenants within 20m of the property of the upcoming build two weeks before the approval of the CDC.
“Despite what conflicting opinions the certifier or Mr Boettiger have in regards to the plans, they are approved plans and were built according to what was stamped,” the statement reads.
“We understand that during this process, the certifier took all necessary steps as defined by New South Wales Planning Department and governing certifiers body to ensure definitions and processes were carried out properly, especially when there was contention in relation to unclear terms.”
The Sun Online has approached Rianda Barnes and Saf Developments for comment.
Looking back on the dispute which led to him leaving the place his wife’s family had lived in for 40 years, Mr Boettiger feels bitter about the legal process.
“I constantly found myself just thinking, ‘how does this happen?'” he said. “I’m a good person, I don’t like to cause trouble to my neighbours. I try to get on with my neighbours. I would never do something that p****d somebody off as much.
“You don’t really feel how unjust it is until it’s happening to you.”
Extensive construction projects are often a trigger for disputes between neighbours.
One Brit claims their neighbour is demanding £250 a day while they build an extension.
Sharing their experiences on TikTok, user @surreyonthemove claimed that wasn’t even the pettiest thing their neighbour did.
“They called the fire services unnecessarily claiming that they could get acid burns,” the user wrote in response to a comment underneath their video.
And a Brit pensioner has drilled holes in his neighbour’s garden wall after claiming they built it “illegally”.
Ewen Taylor, 87, from Cardiff, has vowed never to stop until the wall is knocked down and replaced with one the exact same height, depth and width as the one it replaced.
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