We want to enclose our balcony to make a second bedroom for our children and build a new balcony off of the living room. Our downstairs neighbors refused to sign and instead forced a meeting with our city’s building committee. At this hearing his objections were heard and we were informed by mail that I may proceed with my building plans over his objection. The letter also stated that my neighbor may appeal the verdict within 30 days, which he informed me he will do.

All attempts at a compromise were rejected and he even informed me that if he loses the appeal he will then take me to beis din.

My question is, does he have the right to do so? Or is his appeal the last thing he can force me to do before I build?

Thank You.

Answer:

After the appeal he won’t have the right to go to Beis Din.

However, the question is delicate, and it might be best to give him the option: Either drop the appeal and come to Beis Din now, or go on with the appeal but know that we will then begin to build irrespective of attempts to go to Beis Din.

Good luck and best wishes.

Sources:

After a person sues in secular courts (and loses), he does not have the right to go to Beis Din.

The question is how the municipal procedures relevant to this case are considered.

If they are considered as a “court” it follows that he cannot go to Beis Din after making an appeal. However, if they are not considered a court, it follows that they define the custom and the law of the land, without infringing on halachah (and therefore if they give you the right to do so, you can build).

Different Batei Din take different approaches to the issue. For the sake of your own quiet, perhaps select a Beis Din that you trust, and offer him the choice: Either drop the appeal and come to the Beis Din of our choice, or go ahead in the knowledge that if you lose the appeal we will certainly build.

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