pool deck

Neighbour’s $100k battle over pool deck

PHOTO: Mr Boettiger’s wife Blake Rutledge, who is 1.85m tall, looking at the pool deck. Picture: Supplied/ David Boettiger.

A father who spent two years locked in a legal fight with his neighbour over a pool deck has opened up about the draining experience.

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Over the past two years, David Boettiger has become a self-taught expert of NSW residential planning guidelines – something that is no small feat.

The father’s life was flipped upside down after his neighbour Wassim Rahman began with a knock-down and rebuild of his home in Oatley, in Sydney’s south, in August 2020.

Mr Boettiger claims he wasn’t notified of the plans until demolition began next door.

“We could see that the house was being demolished but nobody ever told us what was happening,” he told news.com.au.

“Prior to that we hadn’t seen any plans. We had no idea what they were doing.”

Mr Rahman’s builders Saf Developments rejected Mr Boettiger’s claim, insisting a private certifier informed all the neighbouring property owners on July 9 of the rebuild plans.

David Boettiger formerly lived in Oatley in Sydney’s south. Picture: Supplied/ David Boettiger.

David Boettiger formerly lived in Oatley in Sydney’s south. Picture: Supplied/ David Boettiger.

A view of his neighbour’s pool from Mr Boettiger deck. The pool deck is behind the concrete structure. Picture: Supplied/ David Boettiger.

A view of his neighbour’s pool from Mr Boettiger deck. The pool deck is behind the concrete structure. Picture: Supplied/ David Boettiger.

Mr Boettiger said the process to amend aspects of his neighbour’s build – including a pool deck which sat flush with his fence – cost him more than $100,000 in legal fees.

The emotional toll of the conflict resulted in anxiety, difficulty sleeping and depression.

Now, nearly two years on from when their neighbour’s construction first began, Mr Boettiger and his wife have also moved out of their home, which has been in his wife’s family for roughly 40 years.

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“Even though we technically won and got the changes made, I go back to the area and I just hate the place,” he said.

“I think I’m particularly sensitive but it was a year and a half to two years of just complete anxiety.”

“I’ve never been more stressed.”

A view of his neighbour’s construction. Picture: Supplied/ David Boettiger.

A view of his neighbour’s construction. Picture: Supplied/ David Boettiger.

Central to his claims was a pool deck which sat level with Mr Boettiger’s 1.8m boundary fence.

He also claims he wasn’t made aware of the plans, until he himself requested them from Georges River Council, three weeks after his neighbour’s demolition began.

Saf Developments told news.com.au that while neighbours can request to see the plans of a proposed complying development from the homeowner or certifier, there is no legal obligation for them to be made available.

News.com.au attempted to contact Dr Rahman and his private certified Rianda Barnes but did not receive a response in time for publication.

As Mr Boettiger was attempting to petition council and the builder’s private certifier to amend the build, the construction of the pool and pool deck continued.

“We’re just looking at it from our back deck in disbelief,” he said.

Saf Developments refuted the measurement and said Mr Boettiger’s claims were made from the “perspective of his side of the fence where the land is downstream and lower”.

Mr Boettiger’s wife Blake Rutledge, who is 1.85m tall, looking at the pool deck. Picture: Supplied/ David Boettiger.

Mr Boettiger’s wife Blake Rutledge, who is 1.85m tall, looking at the pool deck. Picture: Supplied/ David Boettiger.

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