JET-14: Questions about the neighbour and the conseil d'etat

Hi all!

I’ve created a document with some questions we could ask a potential friendly lawyer (internal link).
Can you add to it and edit as you see fit?

I’m not sharing it through the forum or the Reef sensitive content because I think we need to be a bit careful with this, as we are not sure at this point if some of our propositions are not borderline fraudulent…
Let me know if you disagree.



i’ve added some lawyer names to the doc. they are experts in immo. they are 1st connections in linkedin so i can ask them with direct messages

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Thanks Sarah.

I have reworded the questions on the possible options to reduce the risk of the neighbour rendering the site that we would buy to a worthless piece of land. I’m not saying I will advocate for any of them, but if we are in the process of unearthing all possible pathways to purchase this site in a safe way, then let’s at least look at the legal / contractual / business approach to unblocking this situation.

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I guess It doesn’t hurt to try…

I have sent the email with the questions to this service. The only one I have not included is the question on giving money to the neighbour to leave because, to me, it does not sound realistic from the point of view of an individual. Hope that’s ok. Will keep you posted on the reply.

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Hello again on this issue. I received a reply this morning suggesting that I take an appointment with one of the lawyers given the amount of questions I’m asking. I will call tomorrow and will try to get an appointment for (ideally) Friday morning or next week. I will try that it happens before 10/04 in any case.


Hello again on this issue: the earliest appointment I’ve gotten for a meeting with a lawyer is on the 25 April. Even if it’s not going to happen in time for the 10/04 and maybe not even relevant anymore for jet14, it is probably still worth it as general information on this topic.


Dear all, I just had the chat with the lawyer about neighbour- related issues. It was only a 10-15 minutes phone call and it was way more chaotic than I expected. My main conclusion is that our architects have approached the problem in the right way.
@Lee and @reef-building, if that’s ok, I will leave up to you to decide what to share (for the sake of transparency) and what to keep only for our eyes (for the sake of strategic interest).
Here is the summary:

Discussion Maria- Lawyer expert BE Real Estate issues 25/04/2024.
• In Belgium, direct neighbours have the right to complain about any project that might interfere in their interests. Sometimes, and depending on the specificities of the projects, Urbanisme (the commune) can request that the project has the approval of the neighbours before issuing a building permit. Most of the time, however, it is not a condition and if the commune does not ask for this, the neighbours can still complain.
• Even when Urbanisme has issued the permit, the neighbours can stop the project.
• It is indeed a very common problem in Belgium (that neighbours complain).
• This issue is usually of technical nature: neighbours often complain because of problems related to the building itself and it is better that the problem is solved between the architects, the architects in Urbanisme and the neighbours who complains. No lawyer can say whether it is better not to buy a property that has a “problematic neighbour”, but usually when the problem is solved at technical level, it should be fine (she does not think that it is a normal problem to have neighbours who will complain irrespective of the project).
• Privately, we could ask the neighbour to sign a document saying that he is ok with our project, but it will have no legal value or will not make things safer. In the case he signs the document and he still takes our project to Court, we can ask the Court to take the private document into account. It can help us with our case, but it does not provide any more legal security.
• Processes in the Conseil d’Etat take from 6 months up to 3 years to be solved. In case of unfavourable opinion for the neighbour, he can still appeal to a higher Court (unknown how much time this would add).
• We can ask for information on any complain in the Conseil d’Etat, it is not private or sensitive.
• If the neighbour was to complain about our project, he would have to send us a 1st formal notice (not go straight to the Conseil d’Etat), and then it goes straight to the Conseil d’Etat (the Court). He would also have to initiate the process again, the two complaints are unrelated.


Thanks so much @MariaAM! Worth gold!

Personally I don’t see anything sensitive, so I would recommend we publish these notes on the forum, just like that. It’s a lot of useful information, so it may even serve somebody who is looking for this information.

Would that work for you Maria?

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Yes, just made a minor change. Totally fine for me to share it :smiling_face:

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Thanks for this Maria!!

Do we know if this case has to be resolved for our own permit to be delivered? Meaning are we sure that an on-going case against the commune on permit 1 does not have an impact on permit 2 going through?
And if it does need to be resolved, does that time frame of 6mo to 3y applies to dropping charges??

I don’t have a clear answer because this is where the conversation got messy.
I don’t have a answer for the question: can we still build with a new permit if the “old case” is ongoing. And I don’t have an answer for the neighbour “dropping charges”. But if he wants to contest our project, he has to notify us first because the two complaints are independent (this was clear). She insisted a lot that it has to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis with the architects and the complaining neighbour (to make sure that the new project addresses his concerns). I also didn’t have enough time to ask what happens with a case in the Conseil d’État that initially has been dropped because the previous project developer, matexi, desisted. If we went for Jet14 we would still have to solve these questions, the time I was given wasn’t enough. The lawyer hadn’t read my email in advance and I had to explain everything to put her into context, which made us waste some valuable minutes.


I am not a lawyer - so we should check - but it seems logical to me that a complaint is linked to a permit. So if we would continue with the contested permit, I would guess the misery would continue, but if we request a new one it should reset the entire thing.

Where we got side-tracked a little - I believe - is the fact that a notary should always check whether there are no court cases that would affect a buyer. An example would be if there is an inheritage dispute, you buy a site, and 5 years in there is somebody who claims to be a third degree great aunt who also has ownership rights on the site. That would be a lot of trouble.

@Quentin is this possibly something that you can check with your sister? (idem for the paying registration rights twice in the other thread)

If not, no worries. We will need an appointment with the notary’s assistant in the very near future, so we can also ask the question there (ping @ugne).


Yes, that’s also what I would think… But best to be sure indeed!

We’re seeing the notary next Monday.

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Indeed. The core mission of the notary in real estate is to guarantee that the property right you buy is unalloyed, no strings attached (like mortgages etc.).

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Complaining is definitely connected to a project, and the legal form through which you can attack a “project” is making a blocking against an ongoing application for permit or a recours against a given permit (usually happens during the public consultation phase of the permit or through giving a negative advice on the permit to be given (but your advice must then be requested, not always the case)).
No permit >> what would you complain against ?

There is anyway nothing you can ethically do to take from a citizen their right to complain : this is your right, as a citizen, to oppose against a project/permit if you can prove it negatively impacts your quality of life (noise pollution, invasive vis-à-vis, sunlight blocking,… )

  • Good and respectful project = no room for complains
  • Communicative and participative procedure = best chance to make sure you’re not impacting anyone too much

Yet, sometimes, powerful assholes can make their way through and complain without real motive just because ils ont le bras long. > Not the case in JET 14