Neighbour will do work whether we like it or not!

by Readers Question

19:32 PM, 26th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Neighbour will do work whether we like it or not!

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Neighbour will do work whether we like it or not!

There are builders currently working next door to one of our rental houses. They say they are converting a 4-bed into a 7-bed house, including a loft conversion and a ground floor extension. The agent is liaising on the landlord’s behalf. Neighbour will do work whether we like it or not

The agent has said they are doing the side extension – we don’t yet know the details but it looks like it will come to within inches of our border, affecting the light that comes into our kitchen and downstairs bedroom (which has a rear window).

In addition, they want to take down the stone wall that forms the boundary between the two back gardens and presumably re-erect it after they have put the footings in. We believe the wall belongs to both of us and I want to know what happens if we say no, we do not give permission for this?

The agent has already said he is only telling us about the extension as a matter of courtesy and will go ahead and build it regardless. He says only building regs is necessary and not planning permission. I don’t know if he’s also thinking of going ahead and dismantling the boundary wall also without our permission.

The whole thing has led me on to the idea that perhaps we, too, would like to do an extension at the back. We were going to replace the kitchen anyway, so we might wait until the tenants have left at the end of June and get the work done in July.

I’m just wondering what thoughts people have about this?

We are wondering whether there are regulations/laws about the minimum space needed between houses (although they are terraced anyway). For example, could they put the extension in now and then, when we try and do a mirror image of that one in July would they have any way of stopping us?

For one thing, we wouldn’t want them to put a window in that looked directly into our current kitchen, because if we then wanted to do the same we’d have the bizarre situation of two windows inches from each other looking right into the other one!

Any thoughts?

Ros



Comments

Mark Alexander

19:34 PM, 26th January 2015
About 4 years ago

All sounds very suspicious to me Ros. At the very least I would put a call into the planning office if I were you.
.

Dr Rosalind Beck

20:19 PM, 26th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Yes, but if I do, might I be shooting myself in the foot if I also later want to do a similar development? When we did some work on another house the HMO inspector advised us not to mention what we were doing to Planning!

Mark Alexander

20:29 PM, 26th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rosalind " at "26/01/2015 - 20:19":

Mm, that sounds bad to me. Just my opinion though
.

dom glynn

8:32 AM, 27th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi,
Surely if the work is that close to your property they will need you to sign a party wall agreement?

Ian Ringrose

12:07 PM, 27th January 2015
About 4 years ago

You can insist on a parting wall agreement, but that will NOT stop the work, just delay it by 2 months as well as costing them some money in surveyed fees.

A letter saying you intent to take out an injunction if the work is not stopped until agreement is reached, on a lawyers letter head would be a good start…..

Then try to reach a good agreement, e.g. his will allow you to use his new extension wall without charging you.

Les Martin

12:14 PM, 27th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Ros
There are rules regarding windows overlooking the neighbours. Also this work is notifiable ie subject to building control inspection and sign off. You should have been notified of the planned works regardless of whether it's permitted development (not needing planning consent) to enable you to object.

Go onto the local authority planning portal and check against the address and it will tell you if the work has registered. The LA will have to have been informed of the plans for them to agree that it is permitted works without PA. I believe the boundary wall may be covered by the Party Wall Act if it goes up to your property. Also if they intend to wall on a wall that you share they will also have to comply with the PWA.

Badger

12:39 PM, 27th January 2015
About 4 years ago

You'll not be surprised to find that there are a myriad of rules governing this kind of thing.

It sounds like he feels no planning permission is required.

If so then you might want to check this document:

http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/100806_PDforhouseholders_TechnicalGuidance.pdf

to see if you agree with his judgement.

Incidentally, there are plenty of rules about windows on side elevations - including that they must be obscure glazed.

Ian Narbeth

12:50 PM, 27th January 2015
About 4 years ago

You say: "but it looks like it will come to within inches of our border, affecting the light that comes into our kitchen and downstairs bedroom (which has a rear window)."

You may have rights of light that are being infringed and this may entitle you to an injunction or damages fro interference. You need to take professional advice.

You say that you may like to do an extension at the back. You might need to infringe the neighbour's rights of light to do so. The fact that he infringes your rights to light does not entitle you to infringe his. Now is the time to sort things out and if appropriate to reach a binding agreement with the neighbour about mutual building rights. This may overtake rights to light issues but you want to avoid a situation where the neighbour blocks your light and then objects to your extension.

Jerry Jones

13:00 PM, 27th January 2015
About 4 years ago

If you want to do a similar extension, why not do a deal with the builder to do it all as one job? You might be able to bribe the tenants to move earlier.

Tony Atkins

13:08 PM, 27th January 2015
About 4 years ago

There is a widespread misunderstanding amongst homeowners that they somehow now have carte blanche to build whatever ever they like - it is not true. An extension from four bedrooms to seven sounds like a large one. The new rules that allow homeowners to undertake extensions via permitted development are summarised here: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/commonprojects/extensions.

If sounds to me as though your neighbours may have to consult with you under the Neighbour Consultation Scheme, showing you all plans and securing your permission before they can build such a large extension and so close to the boundary. Without this, they are at serious risk of being forced to demolish the extension if Planning find out. The building control officer may report them to Planning anyway, because building right up to your boundary without permission is a clear breach of long-standing planning regulations.

I strongly advise you to consult Planning and not try to do some deal with the neighbour in the hope you can avoid planning permission yourself in future: I doubt very much that such deals will stand up when challenged, either with the planners or in court after the neighbour reneges on the deal.

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