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FUMING! (sorry, but I am). Neighbours want to extend their kitchen and build the foundations for it on my side of the boundary.

(24 Posts)
Carla Sat 30-Jul-05 17:33:41

It's my old house that I had before meeting H, but ffs I couldn't believe that under the 1996 Part Wall act they're entitled to do this, with all the scaffolding, disruption etc on our side that this entails.

I let it out at the moment to a family with a 10mo baby - and what a lovely summer they're going to have

Anyone else been through this?

joash Sat 30-Jul-05 17:45:12

Not been through this but just wanted to say {{{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

Merlin Sat 30-Jul-05 17:58:32

carla - we did a huge extension last year, starting in Jan and finished in October.

Although foundations were kept within our boundary, neighbours on both sides had scaffolding in their gardens (on their patio in one case!) - it was a 2 storey extension too so it was quite a lot of scaffold! We told them of our plans before even applying for planning permission and they were OK about it. Obviously it was a lot of noise and mess for them through the summer, but we tried to keep them updated on what was happening and although there were a couple of sticky moments on the whole they were extrememly understanding that it wasn't going to be for ever and a few bottles of wine went some way to appease them!

I'm confused though as to how they can put foundations on your land? Is that to do with it being a party wall or something?

Merlin Sat 30-Jul-05 18:00:04

I think the neighbours did get a bit p.....sd off when we moved out for 4 months though while the builders demolished the entire back of the house

Fio2 Sat 30-Jul-05 18:02:53

goah carla didnt know you had a hose! Will you move back there?

and fwiw my mum had the same last year with her neighbours and apprently they are entitled

Fio2 Sat 30-Jul-05 18:03:43

a hose

of course meant a house

Blondeinlondon Sat 30-Jul-05 18:17:15

Not sure that they would be entitled to build foundations in your land - sounds dodgy to me
Who told you they are entitled to??


here is the act info

Donbean Sat 30-Jul-05 18:17:31

We too built an extension on our house and had a party wall agreement with our neighbour.
Fortunately we didnt touch her side of the property at all.
We kept popping round to let her know of our next move with the building work etc and she had her head constantly out of her house sticking her nose in basically.
For the importance of neighbourly good will we never fell out with them and kept the whole thing up front and chatty.
I was under the impression that a party wall agreement just means that the builders/owners agree to put right any damage caused by any works undertaken.
I can understand your anger though and aprehension at such a big upheaval.
What is your relationship like with these people (neighbours)?
Just to add, at one point we thought that we would have to use some of the neighbours land, literally 2 inches. This would have meant that we would have to purchase this bit of property off them, getting solicitors involved the lot, i dont think that they can build on your land at all without going through such proceedures and legal involvement.

Carla Sat 30-Jul-05 18:35:50

Yep - I've just looked up the Party Wall Act 1996 and our architect friend was (unsurprisingly) right.

Their idea is to take the wall to our fence, but build the foundations (2/3 feet?) into our garden. And they're allowed to do it

I just keep thinking, if you take this Act to its enth conculsion, you might as well say 'have all the garden ... take what you will ... do what you like.

I s'pose you can tell I'm a bit upset about it. This in a quiet residential street of terraced houses - not like there's a mile between their kitchen and my windows.

joash, thank you!! Your impartial sympathy was fab!

Carla Sat 30-Jul-05 18:41:27

And another thing -sniff- if she knows she can do it, why did she say she's off to the States next week and can she email me to find out how I feel about it?

I said the only thing I was worried about was that there was a difference between looking out on a wooden fence and looking out on a brick wall. H thinks I'm mad, my sister agrees with me - there are two windows in the kitchen that will greet this brick wall.

Do yo'all think the same, or not? Is looking on a wooden fence whilst you're in the kitchen nicer than having a brick wall up your nose? Or am I being over-sensitive?

Jimjams Sat 30-Jul-05 19:16:08

God I'd be livid- and worried. Ds1 and scaffolding would be a complete death trap.

TracyK Sat 30-Jul-05 19:24:43

How far is your kitchen window from the fence/wall? is the wall going to be higher than the fence - surely you'd be entitled to 'right of light' if it's higher and close?
Tho our old house the guy next door did the same to us - took down the fence and tehn built a wall - even tried to build the wal a little bit further into our garden! cheeky b! we just had to put some climbing plants on it to hide it.

kid Sat 30-Jul-05 19:28:02

Is there definatley nothing you can do even though she will be blocking your view? I would have thought there were some rules on this.
(Though I'm sure you have looked into it already).

foxinsocks Sat 30-Jul-05 19:43:30

your houses sound like ours

our neighbour did this to us last year - it was all perfectly legit, in fact almost everyone else except for us, our neighbours on our left and right have extended this way. Our neighbours on our right did it - they moved out for 9 months (that's how long it took but their builders were USELESS!) and I had to put up with their builders EVERY single day. I could hear them swearing through the wall, they left a 3 foot deep hole in the garden without telling me and it caused an awful amount of dust etc. around the outside of the house. The houses here are only about 15 foot wide anyway so it was a hell of a pallava.

Anyway, they can do it - our neighbour on the other side told me she never wanted us to do it because she didn't want to look out onto a brick wall. We can't afford to do it but there's nowt you can do about it if you don't like it unfortunately.

But I do have sympathy with your lodgers!

Carla Sat 30-Jul-05 19:47:13

TK, about 5ft. Although, the problem is, if she laid her foundations on my patch, that would mean that if I ever sold the house, whoever bought it couldn't do the same, 'cos her foundations were there (and not strong enough to support a party wall). She did suggest my contributing to the wall, in case I wanted to extend my kitchen, but given the kitchen's only 5 years old, and given that it's perfectly adequate for whoever (including those with 3 children) has rented it in the past, I don't have the inclination or the means to be able to do that.

As far as blocking the view, H says it's only 50cm higher than the fence we've got at the moment, and that I should allow them to do it.

spacecadet Sat 30-Jul-05 20:42:26

carla i sympathise with your tenants, however we are in the process of getting building regs for an extension off the back of our house(single storey) and our architect said if we wanted to build on the boundray line, we would have to get neighbours permission, we decided not to bother,we are building just a little way in and having our inside wall slightly stepped in, id ratger not fall out with my neighbour

Celia2 Sat 30-Jul-05 22:20:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Carla Sat 30-Jul-05 22:23:54

Thanks, FIS, seems like I'm caught between a rock and a hard place.

SC, I'm really amazed by that. According to the PW regs, you don't have to get permission, just serve a notice c/o John Prescott

jamiesam Sat 30-Jul-05 22:39:24

Can I add my twopennorth....

I think there are several different types of legislation involved here. Everyone has a 'right to light' but it's not an unlimited right and is likely to be costly to establish exactly what your rights are. As a rule, I guess if your neighbour is building something similar to others in your street, then it's unlikely to be unreasonable vis 'right to light'.

I am very unsure about the party wall act - I thought that there was a right to build on the party line, but not to extend beyond. It is possible to build what's called 'eccentric' foundations which don't extend beyond one face of the wall - that would mean that they wouldn't extend under your property Carla. However, the effect on your tenants may not really be significantly different, and as the ODPM stuff says, it is likely to be worth allowing builders on to your property so that they finish the wall properly and it doesn't look a pig. What spacecadet and celia say sounds right to my limited understanding of the act...

Then there's planning permission - lots of small (esp single storey) extensions are permitted development. If they do require planning permission then things like overlooking windows and unreasonable overshadowing come into play. Obviously, if a neighbour did build with an overlooking window, there'd be nothing to stop you from putting up a 2m fence right in front of the window. For that reason, windows in side walls are normally opaque, so light in but no overlooking...

Carla Sat 30-Jul-05 22:45:02

Thanks for that, jamiesam. FWIW, H has told me I've no right to light, and in any case the kitchen will only beat the current fence by 50cm.

I know it sounds strange, but I would actually prefer a little window one their side - it would break up the monotony of that horrible wall that I can just envisage.

And - unfortunately - and unbelievably - it's true. They can cross the boundary with their builders, scaffolding et al to their heart's content.

Eugenius Sat 30-Jul-05 22:47:08

I can understand your frustration but this is what being neighbourly is all about - I'm sure in their shoes you'd want them to be accommodating

jamiesam Sat 30-Jul-05 22:53:16

I heard the party wall act was introduced to solve a lot of problems for people trying to extend. The act tries to solve the problem of neighbours who refuse to negotiate by creating a system where notice is given of intentions and surveyors can be appointed to sort of mediate. Without the act, people could still build up to their boundary and no rights for your side of the wall to be properly finished, also if you did give permission for builders to come on your side of the property, you had unclear rights for problems to be put right. Act not great, but better than without it (apparently...)

Carla Sat 30-Jul-05 23:03:21

jamiesam, yes, you're probably right. It's just that they're asking me to put money upfront now (which I don't have) to make the foundations OK should anyone I subsequently sell the house to wish to do the same thing. Pah.

Eugenius, are you my potential new neighbour?

Micku5 Sun 21-Aug-05 22:03:21

Carla, not sure what the situation is now regarding the extension but my dh is a building surveyor and deals with a lot of party Wall notices and can give you some advice regarding the Party Wall Act and the building of foundations etc.

'Your neighbour needs to issue a line of junction notice and possibly a notice of adjacent excavation a minimum 1 month before they propose to excavate accompanied with full details of the foundation design. The Act allows for foundations to straddle the line of boundary as long as they are not special foundations (i.e those constructed with the use of reinforcement). Traditional foundations would not project your side of the boundary more than about 9 inches.

Please note that if they are emplying traditional foundatiosn you can still dissent to the notice and employ a surveyor to look after your interest the cost of wehich will be met by the person undertaking the work (Your neighbour) Your surveyor will draft an award with your neighbours surveyor within which access rights can be determined and a photographic schedule of condition can be prepared before works start. Upon completion this schedule is reveiwed by the appointed surveyors and any damage made good at your neighbours expense.

It is important that you review the notices once issued to you. I would suggest you forward these to a surveyor or architect who specilizes in Party wall matters. (Be careful there exists a wide variation in experiance in this field)'

Hope this is of help to you.

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