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Can a Resident of a Housing Development Force All His Neighbors to Contribute to a Fence Around His Pool? 

Rav Shmuel Honigwachs

Question: Reuven lives in a development where the houses are situated fairly close together and everyone has windows that face each other’s yards. One day, he decides that he wants to install a swimming pool in his backyard. Can he force all of his neighbors to either seal their windows or contribute towards the building of a fence?

Answer: We previously discussed a case where two people purchase a property from one person, and they split the property into two. We mentioned that there is a disagreement between the Mechaber and Rema whether one of them can force the other to close off his windows due to hezek riya. We said that although the Rema rules that they can force each to close off any windows facing into their courtyards, we cannot force people today to do so since hezek riya is not such a concern for contemporary backyards.

Regarding swimming pools, however, where there is a genuine concern of hezek riya, it stands to reason that the Rema’s ruling could be enforced and the neighbors could be forced to seal their windows or contribute towards the building of a mechitzah.

This may seem like an interesting conclusion, and truth be told I have not seen this ever being enforced, but that seems to be the halacha.

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