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overlooking - how does it affect the value of your property?

(12 Posts)
overlooked Sun 14-Sep-03 11:17:06

I've changed my name for this one.

The council agreed an extension to my neighbour's house that has windows looking directly into my home (kitchen and living room) from a distance of about 8 metres. The property was previously screened by a large evergreen hedge that was demolished to make way for the extension. I think this reduces the value of my home by about 5%. I'm trying to get a proper valuation but I would be interested in your views. Would you buy a house that was overlooked? If you did how much less would you expect to pay?

bluecow Sun 14-Sep-03 12:47:08

I'm surprised the council have not insisted on opaque windows so you can't be overlooked - that's what we had to agree to when we got permission for our extension. You may find the neighbours might feel a bit 'exposed' once the extension is built and put up blinds or curtains anyway. I know that doesn't quite answer your question but it might be worth investigating, even at this stage, with the planning department if this is something you can ask for.

Jollymum Sun 14-Sep-03 15:09:07

My dh knows about planning stuff and he thinks:

If the extension is 8m away, is it at the end of your garden? Were you notified by the council about the application and given an opportunity to object? If not they should have done. (If you object it doesn't automatically mean that they have to refuse). Is the extension single or two-storey? If it's two storey you may have a right to claim loss of light (although 8m away may be a bit too far for this, it's normally applied if an extension is say put on the back of a house and blocks light from the back of your house). Hedges don't count in Town Planning (apart from in green belt etc) as they are not structures and not controlled under Planning. It's not much help but there is nothing to stop you planting another one. Also overlooking isn't much of an issue into a kitchen as this is not classed as a "habitable room" but into a lounge does count more, and overlooking into a garden is also a relevant planning issue.

If the extension has been built unfortunately there's not much you can do about it now. If the council failed to notify you and give you the right to object they have not followed the rules of the Town and Country Planning Act, and you may have a case to get some compensation from them if you can demonstrate that the value has come down as a result of the extension. This would be very hard to prove though as property values have gone up so much recently.

(Back to JM)

overlooked Sun 14-Sep-03 15:10:20

the local council imposed a condition on an upper window but not the lower ones. However because of a difference in site levels even the lower windows look over my 2 metre fence. The upper window does not have obscure glass and the council have been very slow to respond to my request for enforcement action. The neighbours have put up blinds but don't usually draw them.

zebra Sun 14-Sep-03 19:54:06

If you want a survey, Overlooked -- I (American) wouldn't even notice or care if I was overlooked by neighbours. DH (English) rates it as hugely important. So for me, wouldn't reduce the value of the house at all. But DH wouldn't even consider a property that overlooked if he could help it.

Funny, of all the hedonic pricing studies I've seen I don' think I've ever seen "overlooked" down as an attribute.

SofiaAmes Sun 14-Sep-03 22:53:42

I have to agree with zebra. I find the english phobia of being overlooked very strange. It certainly wouldn't occur to me to expect to find a house that wasn't overlooked in the middle of a city. If I wanted to be isolated I would get a house in the suburbs or the country.

I have just had my planning application turned down because a nasty neighbor (he complains to everyone on the street about everything)4 doors away complained that our terrace overlooked his garden. I suppose if I pulled out my binoculars and he cut down all his trees I might possibly just be able to see his wife hanging out her laundry. (presumably she doesn't do this in the nude, so why on earth should they care). My immediate neighbors who are truly overlooked by this terrace had absolutely no objections and in fact were dissapointed that we weren't able to build it as we often have a good chat over the fence with them.

SofiaAmes Sun 14-Sep-03 22:57:26

I have to agree with zebra. I find the english phobia of being overlooked very strange. It certainly wouldn't occur to me to expect to find a house that wasn't overlooked in the middle of a city. If I wanted to be isolated I would get a house in the suburbs or the country.

I have just had my planning application turned down because a nasty neighbor (he complains to everyone on the street about everything)4 doors away complained that our terrace overlooked his garden. I suppose if I pulled out my binoculars and he cut down all his trees I might possibly just be able to see his wife hanging out her laundry. (presumably she doesn't do this in the nude, so why on earth should they care). My immediate neighbors who are truly overlooked by this terrace had absolutely no objections and in fact were dissapointed that we weren't able to build it as we often have a good chat over the fence with them.

overlooked Mon 15-Sep-03 09:35:01

Removal of a hedge can be a material consideration in a planning application - we have had advice on that. I am one of the people who would not contemplate buying a house that was overlooked and I don't wish to live next to someone who treats me like this. My home is now on the market. Unfortunately no Americans have shown interest and those who have viewed go away when they see the extension. There seem to be a lot of British people like zebras DH. There are structural difficulties over replacing the hedge that would make it impossible/expensive. We're still trying to find a solution to that problem.

twiglett Mon 15-Sep-03 09:38:54

message withdrawn

SoupDragon Mon 15-Sep-03 10:43:05

Can you put up a high trellis and grow something vigourous like Virginia Creeper up it? This will disguise the extension and also block their window (I'm not sure how high up the windows are). Just make sure it's attached to posts on your property.

overlooked Mon 15-Sep-03 11:00:40

there are strustural problems that make it difficult to do anything about fencing although we are trying to find a solution to that.

CountessDracula Mon 15-Sep-03 16:43:10

I should put up a fast growing hedge if I were you. My dad's neighbour was turned down for planning permission for a window and put it in anyway. My dad waited till he went on holiday and built a brick wall in front of it!!!!

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