When Your Neighbours Take 3 Years To Build A House…

We are currently dealing with Town and Country Planning and hope to get satisfaction, but we would like to share our problem with any readers here.

We built and occupied our small bungalow eight years ago, on a spot with a view of the sea. Our road is at right angles to the shore. Recently the adjacent spots, both above and below us on our side, have started building large upstairs houses, too large, we think, for the 5000 sq ft of all these spots, and both to be rented out as apartments, one apartment on each floor. Our modest bungalow is going to be totally engulfed, and fresh breezes restricted. The particular problem now is that the owner of the spot below us has decided to extend the original foundations to make the rooms larger, shutting us off even further from our now tiny view of the sea.

Even if it turns out that planning permission has been granted for these buildings in all respects, in accordance with the existing rules for development in this residential area, do we have any redress whatsoever in view of the fact that we have been in residence for eight years now, and these buildings are going to be an encroachment on our established enjoyment of our own small residence?

Other annoying features are that the building of these two houses is taking a long time, two to three years already, one is only at the foundation stage, so we have had to put up with unsightly bush, unattended and extremely untidy building works, and the spot below us has had a workman’s shed now for three years, right at the roadside at the front, totally blocking our view down the road to the sea.

We would be pleased to read anyone’s views on these matters, suggesting whether or not we have any rights whatsoever.

(Name withheld by request)


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Island Life

22 responses to “When Your Neighbours Take 3 Years To Build A House…

  1. The Truth

    Your Future neighbours do not understand nor do they care. Barbadians have become indifferent to their fellow man. We need agencies that have a bite to protect the innocent.
    Your neighbours have and continue to depreciate your investment. Unfortunately they can totally neglect their property and there is no one interested or able to help you. It is a form of terrorism. This is a by product of living in the 3rd world.

  2. Hants

    The rules that applied to you when you built your house are the same for your neighbours.

    You can call the Health Department if the properties are overgrown with bush and present a health hazard.

  3. The Truth

    They are no rules. My good friend lives across the road from a German Man who is an non- national. He has called the Police/Health/Town & Country/Ministry of Agriculture for him over 7 years and nothing has happened.
    This property is a complete dump, depreciating all the properties on the street. Nothing happens !!!

  4. planning rules

    In most jurisdictions, a building lot will have a building envelope after setbacks which will include dimensions, height, allowable square footage etc.

    If the owners are within their building envelope and square footage you are usually out of luck as no one is guaranteed a view for life unless they are on the water.

    If the owners wish a variance or rezoning of the basic rules they need to go through a whole host of steps including going to the neigbours and trying to get them onside and making concessions or special agreements.

    You need to approach some of the many qualified planning experts such as Gill, St Hill etc. They can usually tell you right away if you have a case.

    Lastly, in a third world country don’t expect the Town and Country Planning Department and some examiners to play it by the book. Everything is very grey or very very green.

  5. Hants

    The Truth says.

    They are no rules.

    No. They are rules but getting them enforced can be very difficult.

    This person is not likely to get anywhere because I don’t know of anwhere in Barbados that is restricted to single storey buildings.

  6. J


    No rights.

    I think that you must be foreigners or Bajans who live over and away for a long time. I’ve lived in my neighbourhood for nearly 20 years and I came here and found unfinished houses and some are still unfinished. Fortunately none on my street. Drive around Barbados and see for yourself. Besides those Bajans building next to you are being thrifty. They are building by cash as they get it. They ‘fraid of the banks and the mortgage interest rates. No sub-prime crisis for those 2. Those houses will be finished when the families have earned the money and not a minute before and not a thing Town and Country planning can do about it. You have your view for 8 years. It gone now. You will not get it back.

  7. Rumplestilskin

    Check Town Planning as to whether the obstruction of your ‘wind/air’ is against the rules.

    Somewhere in the back of my mind I suspect that may be a consideration.

    But as the others say, it may be difficult to enforce.

  8. Permres

    I find the reasons given for incompleted houses in Barbados do not make sense. I do not think Barbados will ever be a fully developed nation with these sorts of attitudes, no matter what the government says or does.

    As I see it, the first world countries now are fully developed because of capitalism. Banks etc. have a monopoly on the money, so to borrow to build, and complete in the shortest possible time, and before material prices go up, makes financial sense. When complete, we can live in them or rent them out, thus ourselves capitalising on our investment. The banks, of course, make their profits, but after our own long-term investment (mortgage) the property becomes ours.

    I think the third world attitude here is short-sighted-ness. Ignorant people (no disrespect there, just meaning people who do not know or understand) do not trust in the future, but plan within their very limited means in the hopes that they will complete, in ten years, 20 years, never! I am an englishman with permanent residence here. My father, a builder in the UK before WW2 (I was a war baby) taught me the value of taking out a mortgage. I would like to educate some Barbadians, or have times changed?

  9. Green Monkey

    “Banks etc. have a monopoly on the money.”

    Do they ever! To see just how the banks got their “monopoly on money” and how they profit from that monopoly, watch the video documentary “Money as Debt.” You can get it on DVD from the web site http://www.moneyasdebt.net or watch it online at Google video here:


    The Wall Street Ponzi Scheme

    The Ponzi scheme that has gone bad is not just another misguided investment strategy. It is at the very heart of the banking business, the thing that has propped it up over the course of three centuries. A Ponzi scheme is a form of pyramid scheme in which new investors must continually be sucked in at the bottom to support the investors at the top. In this case, new borrowers must continually be sucked in to support the creditors at the top. The Wall Street Ponzi scheme is built on “fractional reserve” lending, which allows banks to create “credit” (or “debt”) with accounting entries. Banks are now allowed to lend from 10 to 30 times their “reserves,” essentially counterfeiting the money they lend. Over 97 percent of the U.S. money supply (M3) has been created by banks in this way. The problem is that banks create only the principal and not the interest necessary to pay back their loans, so new borrowers must continually be found to take out new loans just to create enough “money” (or “credit”) to service the old loans composing the money supply. The scramble to find new debtors has now gone on for over 300 years – ever since the founding of the Bank of England in 1694 – until the whole world has become mired in debt to the bankers’ private money monopoly. The Ponzi scheme has finally reached its mathematical limits: we are “all borrowed up.”


  10. Hants


    Some of the people building houses do not qualify for a bank loan because they do not have stable incomes.

    There are some who get a lot of help from relatives overseas and that money is not considered income by Banks.

    This method of building also started when black people could not get mortgages or loans from banks.

    Barbadians evolved from a Nation of Tenantry dwellers to owning properties in todays heights and terraces.

    Some of us were taught the value of being debt free. Not a bad concept.

  11. TonT

    While we are discussing the length of time it takes to complete a building in Barbados when using your own money, consider the poor buyer who purchases a finished house that has been under construction for 5 – 10 years. Lumber, raw concrete blocks, steel, etc. exposed to the elements (namely salt) and then covered up, plastered and painted. Five years after purchasing your dream, you get your nightmare. There should be a declaration somewhere in the purchase contract detailing the building period from start until completion. “Buyer beware” does not cut it.

  12. Maggie

    I have been building in Barbados for greater than five years not because of the money, but because the builders/contractors etc. do not follow instructions and stop building for rain, crop over, christmas, didn’t build up the foundation right, didn’t put rebar(?) in the flooring for the second floor, didn’t remember the plan, couldn’t read the plan.
    Town and country planning is useless unless you have a friend that have a friend or something like that.

  13. Thistle

    You left out cricket, Maggie. “Stop building for rain, crop over, christmas”…. and CRICKET!

  14. Hants


    “didn’t build up the foundation right, didn’t put rebar(?) in the flooring for the second floor, ”

    Whoever made those mistakes is either a “handyman” or a crooked theiving contractor.

    Find a competent builder with good workmen to finish your house.

  15. de gap

    “2 acres and a chattel house”

    Anybody who wants to ensure an unobstructed view of the shoreline needs to shell out a few million Sir Grantley’s for beach-front or the top of the hill then they won’t have anything to worry about. And just because a Bajan builds piecemeal doesn’t mean they are financially “ignorant” or unsophisticated. It may be their second or retirement home or they may just not qualify for a mortgage. On the other hand, people who finished their homes, but don’t paint them, now that’s a next story.

  16. of interest

    hey folks a quick note here. Unless the land is located within close proximity just outside of the flight zone by the airport Town Planning would hardly impose a height restriction in terms of the number of stories.

    However within recent times they have been imposing height restrictions on dwellings to 28 ft from ground level to the apex of the roof.

    with regards to blocking of views this would have to be stated in the restrictive covenants for the particular development. Thats why you see certain developments sell a lot faster than others

  17. eureka

    Commiserations to this family in the current situation but I don’t think it can be challenged. As I write, I am faced with a similar situation in the parish of St.James where I live.

    There is a block of apartments being erected obliquely opposite to my house which will remove almost all of my view of the sea ( I almost said ‘window to the sea’). I suppose that’s the price we pay for progress.

    However, that said; if we were the persons constructing the said property, we would be the least concerned about whose view we are blocking. Simply put, it is called ‘human nature’.

  18. John

    .. here is a recent though not original position on high rise housing in Barbados.


    Imagine if the block of Apartments at Britons Hill had been High Rise?

    We need to become far more knowledgeable about the location and sizes of caves and voids in the coral cap.

    We have seen two possibly three issues in a reasonably short time, Brittons Hill, Ellerton and of course the $50 million remediation which we as taxpayers got stuck with at Warrens.

    There will probably be more as more exotic and beautiful places in the island are passed for “development”.

    Hopefully the exotic nature and beauty of these places will not be related to the underlying voids or we could see some serious lawsuits emerging!!

  19. bajans is getting more and more a– foolish by the day,when comments made by a permres or a j about barbados and her people tell you the kind of people that coming and living here that not bajans.bajans need to come back to their own

  20. why every time i wrote about some comments that was make from other writers it always go into awaiting moderation guess this is not a free press especially for bajans born and raise in barbados i guess you have to be a jackass like permres who is a permanent residence from jolly old england who father is a builder or letter j who is a foreigner.

  21. Permres

    orisha, if you know your history you will know that the English and the Africans were here at the same time. The English will always be coming here because they support the country. I am married to a born and bred Barbadian, and as a returning national she totally agrees with me, and brings her pension with her from the UK.

    Bajans who have nevcr left the island have something to learn from us, laws are in place in the UK which would give us some rights over how our neigbours develop their property. Also there, on complaining, the matter is dealt with very quickly.

    I am not saying corruption does not occur in the big countries, but Barbados being small we have learnt that it is much more noticeable as it is right on our doorstep.

  22. Vision Alert

    Cleanliness is next to Godliness, and my country Barbados is a tourist attraction. It appears that if they get away from the tourist areas, they will see the unfinished buildings, the garbage, the rats and dead dogs on the road. The piles of debris left by road workers which are not immediately picked up, and the rain comes, washes it into the drains and blocks them.

    I support the Englishman and his wife for being honest and are prepared to get vex and make a noise. If I could afford to pass my hand I could get things done.