Non-Compliant Neighbours / Owners And What To Do About The Problem.
If a neighbour’s land is within your fuel management band, then the neighbouring owner is responsible for its fuel management under the requirement laid down by law.
Firstly, check the condition of the land and judge whether it poses a fire risk to your property.
If you know the owner of the land, discuss the situation with the neighbour and ensure he complies with removal of trees or other vegetation posing a threat.
It can be challenging trying to identify the owner, especially if he lives abroad. The matter can become more complicated if your land is bordered by several lots belonging to different owners. Ask local people, approach the Junta da Freguesia.
If this fails, alert the competent authorities to this situation, namely the GNR and the Câmara. You can also phone 808 200 520 or go to the website http://www.gnr.pt/ambiente.aspx to report the situation.
You could also enlist the help of a lawyer who can check the “cadastral” or map of your local area made for taxation purposes.
How to Make a Complaint
The GNR is responsible for the “fiscalisation” process – that is, initiating fines in situations of non-compliance with land cleaning and fire safety rules.
If you wish to report non-compliant neighbouring land to the GNR, please follow the check-list below.
- Your full name, (or names , if joint property owners), address of your property including post code, your Portuguese residency number, fiscal number (N.I.F.) and phone or email contact details.
- State that you believe that the condition of the neighbour’s land breaches the fuel management laws – Decree-Law no. 124/2006, of June 28, as amended by Decree-Law no. 17/2009, of January 14 and Decree-Law No. 10/2018 of 14 February.
- Give the location and / or address of the offending property, with a description of the problem. If known, state the type of trees or bushes involved.
- Supplement this, if possible, with GPS coordinates and a satellite image from Google Earth showing the offending property, even though this will not show the current condition of the land.
- Include photos that show the current state of the property. Date these, if possible.
- Date your complaint and keep a full copy.
If you can write this in Portuguese, that is preferable – if not ask a friend or advisor to help.
What happens next
Once your complaint has been filed with the GNR, they must verify that the reported land is in breach of fuel management laws. If confirmed, the Câmara Municipal has a maximum of five (5) days to notify the owners or responsible entities and give them a deadline to clean the land.
If the owners are unknown or cannot be located, or the deadline passes with no action being taken by a known owner, the Câmara Municipal must get the work done – usually using hired contractors. Any known owner who fails to take action will be fined, to cover costs of the work.