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Just discovered access to next door's loft!

(14 Posts)
wanderings Sun 07-Dec-14 08:41:50

When doing some DIY in our loft, I discovered a tall and very flimsy piece of plywood attached to the wall, about two feet above the floor. I pulled some of it away from the wall to reveal... next door's loft! Their loft is completely empty with no proper floor, so I expect they didn't know about this. It's a rented house next door.

Is this normal for houses of a certain age, if somewhat "Magician's Nephew"? It's a 1930's semi.

I'm also wondering what to do about it, thinking of security. The only other access to the loft is through a trapdoor. I suppose bolts on the outside of the trapdoor would be a good start, and some solid wood, or even bricks to board up the gap in the wall!

Littleturkish Sun 07-Dec-14 08:42:48

Totally normal, most terraced houses are like this.

uggmum Sun 07-Dec-14 08:48:43

It's not only a security risk but also a fire risk.
Although it's common in older and terraced properties it does need to be permanently closed.
If this had come up on a survey when you bought it your lender would have made it a condition of the mortgage for a wall to be built to close up the gap.
I Would also check with your house insurance company that you are still fully covered with an open gap between properties.

wowfudge Sun 07-Dec-14 09:00:37

The survey on the first house I bought brought up that the door shaped space through to next door's loft (terrace) had to be bricked up because of the fire risk.

Get it bricked up and, if you can, get the contact details of the owner of next door from the tenants if you want to see if he/she will share the cost.

It was very common to have open loft access like this - there have been story lines about it in Corrie; Les Battersby getting into his neighbour's homes via the lofts.

Amethyst24 Sun 07-Dec-14 11:51:08

This also made me think "Magician's Nephew" grin

Middleagedmotheroftwo Sun 07-Dec-14 11:53:53

Rows of terraced houses often have one long shared loft. Totally normal, and I can't see the problem tbh.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Sun 07-Dec-14 11:57:18

We used to live in a terraced maisonette, and all lofts had access panels into each other lofts (fire escape). Even ours which had attic bedrooms still had an access panel into next doors (we both kept them covered with furniture though).

Across the road had a massive housefire and when the Fire Brigade went next door to.use their access panel they discovered a cannibis farm in the attic!

hhhhhhh Sun 07-Dec-14 12:04:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wanderings Sun 07-Dec-14 12:29:26

We have some building work planned for the near future, so perhaps I'll get it bricked then; although getting the bricks up into the attic will be a pain, up a ladder through a small trapdoor! Although I'd read about shared loft spaces (as in Magician's Nephew), I suppose I didn't quite believe they actually existed.

Pipbin Sun 07-Dec-14 19:29:58

We sold a house 18 months ago with a loft that was open all through the terrace.

We had no problem getting a mortgage and no problem selling it.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Mon 08-Dec-14 00:13:35

I think neighbours are unlikely to access your house via the loft though, or use it to grow weed.
If you're that bothered, put a lock on the hatch.

I can see the potential fire risk, but other than that, I think you're pretty safe from marauding neighbours!

choccyp1g Mon 08-Dec-14 00:18:04

Getting the bricks into the attic will be easy using a hod. (Basically a box on a stick). Hod-carrier used to be a proper job on building sites. I suppose they use drones nowadays.

BackforGood Mon 08-Dec-14 00:23:24

Very normal in the style of build, but we had to get ours bricked up when we bought 11 yrs ago, because of the fire hazard side of it.

Years ago, my elderly Grandmother's house was robbed by some guttersnipe by walking along the terrace lofts and dropping into the house from above angry

Bilberry Mon 08-Dec-14 00:28:35

My aunt was broken into through a shared roof space - I think the hatch was in a communal landing (flats) and they just broke through her ceiling to get in.

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