Party Wall Act – neighbour ignored it!

Party Wall Act – neighbour ignored it!

10:23 AM, 19th February 2021, About 3 years ago 7

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The attached neighbour to our rental property conducted works which included a loft conversion and kitchen roof height lift.

The Council have confirmed that no permission was applied for (or retrospectively requested) and possibly PD rights were exceeded. Building Regs were also not applied for. Work is believed to have taken place circa 2 years ago.

I also made them aware that the neighbouring property is an HMO and I think the loft has been made into another room (to get more people in) and I am sceptical this meets room minimum standards. The Council stated they are aware it is an HMO but have never visited and have no intention of doing so due to Covid. They also say its probably not financially beneficial to investigate this. (yet they go hell for leather when it’s a decent LL they want to try and throw the book at!)

My tenant has complained of mice, and she knows it is coming from the adjoining property. More people more food in more rooms, or a shoddy work with gaps now mice are getting in?

I have contacted the owner and the HMO management company – no response.
I suspect a breach of the HMO requirements and clearly, the lack of permissions says it all in my eyes.

The owner should have contacted me about any works to the party wall, but clearly didn’t – where do I go from here with this?

Are there free surveyors that come and take a view on this?

Many thanks

Reluctant Landlord

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12:11 PM, 19th February 2021, About 3 years ago

What has gone on at the property in terms of conversion and current use is not your issue. That is separate.

The PW act is designed to allow the person to do the works but put right any issues arising. The the question is has something happened to your building. Normal situation is light cracking due to machine vibration. They should pay for redecoration works. Worst case is the wall collapses, and they put it right.

If you haven’t been affected by the building works then no issue.

The fact they are doing all this without planning/regs is bad for them and I imagine they will be prosecuted in time when corona has vanished

Reluctant Landlord

14:27 PM, 19th February 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by John at 19/02/2021 - 12:11
I have a belief that as a result of the works there is an issue whereby mice have impregnated my property. Not has the issue before. At least if the PW issue is raised it will open the other issues up as a result. I am not getting anywhere with the council regarding a breach of the HMO licence (which I would have thought is a no brainer when they can go to town with fines etc)

Rob Crawford

17:35 PM, 19th February 2021, About 3 years ago

Is it a licensed HMO? The council will hold a list of licensed HMO landlords with property addresses available to the public. Can you prove the mice are coming from the property next door or are you just assuming this? Why don't you block up the holes from your side? Your buildings insurer would expect this. How many people occupy the property? Do they actually eat in their individual rooms as you imply? Or do they use a communal kitchen? How do you know building regs have not been complied with? From my experience planning officers are reluctant to share this information unless you pay for their time. I do get a feeling that you have a bit of an issue with the property being an HMO and that you are trying to cause issues with the landlord without any real evidence! If the property is licensed, the council will at some point inspect the property. Who in the council have you complained to? It will need to be in writing and sent to the PRS team with supporting evidence.

Reluctant Landlord

18:11 PM, 19th February 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 19/02/2021 - 17:35
Already contacted council about issue of loft extension and kitchen roof extension - they agree no permission sought, agreed or given and no Building Regs either. Owner has not applied for retrospective permission. They have said that they are aware it is an HMO and have contacted the owner for more info but not heard anything back. They have said the owner MAY have applied for a licence but they have a massive backlog of licence applications so it may be stuck in that, so they can't be sure. They do not inspect during Covid and wont until the licence is agreed and applied. Even then it might not get an inspection for years. I have all this in an email response to me after I contacted them by email in the first instance.
My tenant says there are more people than ever using the place and issues with mice, noise etc. I am going to go back to Building Control and say this can't be right as issues my tenant has now may be 1. related to these works that have taken place without permission and checks 2. As a result of over populated HMO.
I have written to owner/LL and Agent looking after the HMO myself in regard to problems my tenant has reported to be - no response from either.

Paul Shears

20:22 PM, 19th February 2021, About 3 years ago

What is the location please?

Reluctant Landlord

9:49 AM, 20th February 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Shears at 19/02/2021 - 20:22

Martin S

22:00 PM, 20th February 2021, About 3 years ago

As others have indicated, there are certain areas of concern that are not deemed to be your business, but obviously you are finding the situation irksome, particularly as those who are supposed to uphold the various rules and regs are evidently not doing their job.

Have you put any of your concerns in writing to the Council? Do you have anything from them in return? Councils are there to legally enforce relevant matters, and not fob you off with their cost/benefit analysis of the situation!
You need to gather evidence of what you talk about, including a Pest Control report, and keep a paper trail. Once you have this, then contact your local MP with your concerns.

The other option is to inform them that you will make a formal complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman unless matters are investigated. This takes up so much time and effort behind the scenes, that it might help spur them into action!

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