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Our new neighbours (who have not yet moved in!) 'phoned on Friday to arrange a meeting (this Saturday), to which they arrived with plans and a party wall agreement document.
They want to build an extension ACROSS the party wall divide, extending at least 6" into our garden.
They were very disappointed we wouldn't sign there and then. They want to be finished by Christmas. They want to start work this week. In fact, they've started - though not actually digging foundations or anything yet.
They have told us it will INCREASE the value of our home and that they are doing us a favour.
People - what should we do? What's the done thing in a situation like this? Are they correct in saying that it will increase the value of our property?
Dh is inclined to agree. I think this is quite possibly not true. Who is right?
Why on earth would you agree to someone building part of their extension in your garden? Or do you just mean that part of the foundation will be on your side of the boundary line? Either way I could foresee it causing all sorts of problems if you ever came to sell the house so could actually mean you having to agree to a lower price in order to sell...
If they want you to sign a party wall agreement you are entitled to appoint a surveyor on your behalf to protect your interests and they must pay for this. I really would get professional advice before making a decision either way. I would also phone the planners at the council and let them know about the party wall issue and tell them you are concerned that building work has already started without this being sorted out and see what they say...
How will an extension going 6" into your garden increase the value of your home? You need to talk to a solicitor before you sign anything at all. And if you can sound out a friendly estate agent re the value thing that would be good. Take your time - don't let them rush you, and get proper advice before you sign anything.
I thought they had to have a party wall agreement prior to instructing work, as you need ot see the plans in detail and effectively they would need to buy or lease that strip of land. Cannot envisage how it might benefit you tbh.
Thank you for replying so quickly!
Yes - they really, really want to build, with bricks, onto our side.
I am sooo glad you are as ! as I am.
The neighbours turned up with their builder who said that he had "mates in the local planning office" who would be happy to reassure us it was all the best thing in the world for us. He also offered to bring round a surveyor friend to talk us through it.
Is that true about the surveyor, then? A friend that I spoke to said that she thought they ought to pay for a surveyor (of our choosing), too, but wasn't sure.
The idea of a "friend of the builder" in the planning office slightly worried me but, yes, I'll 'phone them.
Urgh! I'm typing to the sound of their garden being dug up!
I would speak to my council and not be bullied into signing anything until 100% happy ... it is quite presumptious for them to think that you were going to sign immediately ...
It also sounds weird that they have already started building without approval - sounds lilke there is going to be trouble ahead, especially if foundations need to be checked ...
It all sounds very dodgy to me - do not be intimidated into accepting their builders surveyor friend as your surveyor! Get onto the planning dept asap - if you get no joy from them call your local councillor to intervene on your behalf - and be sure to tell him/her about the builder's allegations about his mole in the planning dept - I'm sure they'd be very interested!
Oh and yes they have to pay for your surveyor and yes you get to choose your surveyor, who will act on your behalf not theirs.
If they are digging now I would say phone the council immediately.
My feeling is to "just say no", too. Dh, alas ... .
Builder is ... hmmm. He suggested that we 'phone the local estate agents (apparently we can trust them because he used to own them! - isn't he well-connected!) - so I've 'phoned another and they confirm what you're all saying: we WILL have issues when it comes to selling.
Dh is still of a mind to ... well, it hasn't convinced him to disagree.
The other thing I don't like is that Mr Builder assured us it was standard practice around here. Well, a quick look out of the bedroom window assures me that all the other local extensions actually have been constructed with gaps between them. Unsightly, perhaps, ineffiect, perhaps, but certainly indicating that others have chosen not to build across the party wall divide.
Has anyone any experience of having AGREED to this and having reached an AGREEMENT with their neighbours concerning something like this?
Thanks for those links ceci. <-- (mn don't do a forlorn one!)
I have built two extensions onto two houses and have never heard of this. It is not right. They are not allowed to build on your land. Have you checked with the council to see if there is permission for this extension? Have you had a letter from the council telling you they have had an application to build an extension next door?
Cece - nope and nope.
They haven't applied for planning permission yet. Mr Builder was very insistent that the extension they are planning did not require planning permission - the only thing holding it up was our signing the party-wall agreement.
Oddly enough, we checked their plans against planning regs. and, to our untutored eye, they seem to be extending lengthways about 1m further than they are legally allowed to do without planning permission.
Dh says it's not an issue but - oh, I don't know - I just feel that if they're being so ... something (dh says "disingenuous" is too strong) at this stage, what will it be like if we actually agree?
They are all as dodgy as hell and you should probably show your DH this thread. The builder with the estate agent, surveyor and planning dept official in his pocket - hmmm. I bet he has a funny handshake as well.
I agree, all dodgy. Stop it now if you can before bricks are laid. So much harder to sort out once walls are built.
Just a thought, have you got legal advise with your home insurance? I used ours in our first house to sort out a party wall issue with our old neighbour.
Hmm, no idea, cece, will find out.
OK - I'm off to put some of this advice to work!
Can I ask again if anyone has any experience of having AGREED to something like this?
(Of course, since it's such a common thing - there will be loads of people answering that!)
Just because dh is really keen to be as positive as possible.
why would you agree to them building on your land??????
You really need to get legal advice.
There is no way I would agree to my neighbours building into my garden.
For what it's worth when we had our extension built on the back of the house the extension wall is at least a foot further into our garden than the party wall so that the external wall is on our side of the fence and not the neighbours. I'm not sure if that makes any sense or not
I can't see anyway it would increase the value of your property but don't sign anything without impartial advice.
Cece - if I answer that, it means I can't show dh this thread ... but I find I can't resist ... .
Well, their argument is that, if they build directly on the party wall divide, although it means they are building 6" onto our garden, what they are doing is building a wall that WE can use, should we ever choose to extend out ... .
Now, I don't know if that's even true - won't it be THEIR wall and the land THEIR land, which means we'll then have to get their agreement should we wish to build on what will become their land and their wall?
Dh also feels that we should make every attempt to get on with the new neighbours. I see his point but ... erm ... I can't help but feel that they are putting us in a slightly awkward position.
Mr Builder was full of how very much we were inconveniencing the new neighbours by dragging our feet. Which, I must admit, I felt was downright rude. BUT I am determined, yes, determined, not to let emotion come into this.
We had to get party wall approval when we had our loft extension done - it was done PRIOR to any building and gave our loft conversion company permission to use the party wall structure and indemnify our neighbours of any costs if our building company had caused damage ...
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