Neighbour will do work whether we like it or not!

by Readers Question

19:32 PM, 26th January 2015
About 6 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


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Comments

Dr Rosalind Beck

22:35 PM, 27th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "27/01/2015 - 20:20":

Hey Mark. I did click on the orange button! That's why it states on my comment at 18.10 that I'm replying to Ian's comment at 16.26!
The reason for the confusion is because I think I hadn't refreshed the page so didn't realise Ian had made another comment in the meantime.

Ian Ringrose

22:39 PM, 27th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rosalind " at "27/01/2015 - 19:47":

The loft will add weight that the party wall has to support and there is a limit, to what a wall will support. But most walls can support a lot more then is needed.

Colin Dartnell

0:19 AM, 29th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rosalind " at "27/01/2015 - 16:17":

From memory I seem to recall that, regarding permitted development, the 'permitted' extension has to be a certain distance from the boundary to not need planning approval. Worth checking this one out.

Also I'm not quite sure about what you are saying, is the wall they are rebuilding going to form part of their extension or is it separate from their extension and will be re erected as a boundary wall between your properties?

If it is a boundary wall they will have issues if you use it to build on as your guttering and roof with overhang their property "eaves dropping". Also they own part of that wall and wouldn't want to lose it to you as it would become part of your property.

Alternatively if they build on the boundary wall they will eaves drop you and you couldn't build on it after they had.

Dr Rosalind Beck

8:33 AM, 29th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Colin Dartnell" at "29/01/2015 - 00:19":

Thanks Colin. That looks like an important point. I'll make sure we raise it with them. Apparently, the work is being delayed by a couple of months as they have 'an issue' with Welsh Water; something about building over a mains sewer...

Ian Ringrose

8:46 AM, 29th January 2015
About 6 years ago

You may get the same issue with the mains sewer so try to start to work WITH them to sort out the issues that both of you have.

Dr Rosalind Beck

8:58 AM, 29th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Yes, good idea Ian. In a way, we're being pushed into a development that I hadn't actually planned. But I don't mind - sometimes things work that way and can turn out to be a good investment.
They had some ideas that hadn't occurred to me - like dotting around toilets and showers in different places - not necessarily doing the two bath/shower rooms, which I thought was interesting. As our kitchen and bathroom need a complete overhaul I may even consider getting rid of the downstairs bathroom which is at the back of the house and making the back into a kitchen-diner. It's all very exciting (well, mildly interesting and a distraction from the actual important things in life).

John Walker

12:44 PM, 31st January 2015
About 6 years ago

Hi Ros,
In this situation, my first port of call would be building control. My own experience is that planners are generally useless at doing anything positive. Regretfully I may be tarring them all with the same brush, but speak as you find. Whatever works are being undertaken Building Regulation approval will be necessary, and you are entitled, as a person likely to be affected by the proposed works, to view the submitted plans at your LA offices. You do not mention how access is to be gained for building work, not usually easy with terraced properties. This will also apply to your own proposals.

John

Nick Pope

9:29 AM, 1st February 2015
About 6 years ago

Ros

I'm not a fully fledged Party Wall Surveyor but have had to give advice in the past. It certainly sounds as if an agreement is required in this case.

There is a very informative leaflet to be had at http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations/buildingpolicyandlegislation/currentlegislation/partywallact
which explains the principles in easy terms.

In the cases I was involved in the matters were handled by discussion with the neighbour/developer who obviously wanted to get on with the work and not waste a couple of months on doing things formally.

One point you should know is that the costs of the surveyor(s) and the agreement are paid by the person proposing the work - it should cost you nothing other than time if you agree that the Party Wall Surveyor is jointly instructed. On this point you need to make sure that he/she is totally independent.

You also mention that the property is being extended under permitted development rights. Possible, but you should confirm with the planners/building regs. department as the extension size is limited by legislation.

You suggest that you may be thinking of doing an extension as well. Perhaps the agreement could include some preparatory work done by the developer as a quid pro quo for your agreement?

On the ownership of the boundary wall it is difficult to comment without looking at your deeds. If you have them the ownership of the boundary may be indicated by a "T" mark - the boundary belongs to the property which has the T on their side. If it's yours and the wall is totally within your baounaries then you can refuse permission.

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