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Neighbour extending - should we extend too?

(12 Posts)
PastaLaFeasta Sun 14-Feb-16 16:02:13

New neighbour in adjoining flat has just let us know she is planning to extend. A planning application will be available soon.

We live in a converted Victorian semi with two flats in each property. We are ground floor as is our neighbour. We are share of freehold with our upstairs neighbour, same as next door. Upstairs will be our first port of call and the extension should improve relations as currently they wake very early and use the room above our bedroom for a few hours - we would move our room to another room which is more insulated and they can use this room without worry.

As a family of four we need the extra room but can't afford to move to an average three bed here (at least £500k for a run down 3 bed semi). We have a low mortgage and reasonable savings so can afford up to £100k which I'm told is far more than enough (with £50k more accurate) - the extension would be 3m x 3.5m max and we'd be installing a new kitchen, bathroom and moving a boiler, some doors and removing a chimney breast.

With next door planning an extension would it be wise to piggie back on their plans by also submitting an application asap, or waiting on the result of their application and submitting soon after? Or perhaps waiting for their build to be complete. I was thinking of waiting another 18 months or so but we don't need to wait if the neighbour's plans would help us in any way, although we have more in savings by then. I'm hoping this will set a precedent in our favour.

Ragusa Sun 14-Feb-16 16:09:15

Wait till they've done theirs. Then you can avoid costly architect fees as the plans will be on the LA website smile

hooliodancer Sun 14-Feb-16 16:13:11

You will probably save money by doing it at the same time, mainly due to both of you having to get party wall agreements with all the ajoining neighbours.

PastaLaFeasta Sun 14-Feb-16 16:52:19

I'm very interested to see the plans, I hope it compliments our plans and isn't a tiny addition, although I have a slight suspicion the neighbour is doing it as an investment so bigger is better. We would have to reverse their plan and we won't necessarily do the whole width which they may be able to do - We only own half the garden so can only build the width of the current back room unless we buy out (some or all of) the garden - no idea how much they'd want but they don't use it so not an impossible proposition. If we could buy more land we may be able to build a small extra room on the side for a kids bedroom/study. It's very exciting although disruptive. It seems many neighbours oppose extensions so it will be interesting to see what happens here, it's a diverse community with many tenanted flats and only a few unconverted houses.

We would have a fab family home if we can do it - two/three bedrooms, a living room and large open plan kitchen/diner/living area.

The party wall issue did make me think building close together would be a good idea. I know there's a rule about building 30cm away from the neighbour's boundary so presume the two extensions would then have a 60cm gap between.

I was thinking it would be best to ask for a quote and for feasibility before mentioning it to anyone else.

FishWithABicycle Sun 14-Feb-16 17:37:28

If you wait for them to build and then make your own plans it will be much more complex and costly. Much better to talk to them now and make plans for a single building project that gives you both the extension you want more cheaply than going it alone. It's a shame you didn't talk sooner than now as some money will obviously already have been wasted but the sooner you start working together the less time money and space (especially wasting a 60 cm gap between you) will be wasted here on in.

PastaLaFeasta Mon 15-Feb-16 11:44:47

They are complete strangers so it would have been odd to mention our possible hopes for an extension which I haven't even convinced DH on yet. Although DH's reservation are more on the planning and disagreements with neighbours, plus disruption - the initial work would be isolated from the rest of the house so its manageable, we'd just lose our bedroom initially.

Plus the neighbour's builder is family so probably not a lot of sunk costs already. Now would be the time to mention it but I'm not sure she actually lives there so I'd have to write a letter and ask to discuss. I presume it would be two separate planning applications even if linked as we are legally two different houses. And we still need agreement from our fellow freeholders, which are different to hers and she doesn't have the garden issue.

The only reason we are in a position to do it is because we know we can finance it. We have an agreement in principle from our current mortgage provider for an extra £55k. And mortgage rates are still low which may not be the case in a year or two. Mentally we aren't ready! Perhaps getting a builder out to talk through the plans would help. I have another more imminent job to discuss anyway.


Ragusa Mon 15-Feb-16 14:00:08

A joint building project with strangers would surely come with significant financial and other risks. I for one would not be keen...but maybe that's just me.

shovetheholly Mon 15-Feb-16 14:17:52

I think there might be all kinds of ways of saving money by doing it together, in terms of build costs in particular. Also, it does change things with planning if neighbours are on board or intending to do the same thing.

We are in the early stages of planning an extension and we are involving our neighbours at every stage. I have shared all of our plans with them, and will continue to do so. I would be delighted if they said they wanted to do the same thing and asked to piggyback on our project and simply reverse our plans - sadly, this isn't an option for them at the moment.

Ragusa Wed 17-Feb-16 19:42:39

But what happens if you fall out? Neighbours/ you run out of money? Disageee on finishes/ specifications? You/ neighbours don't procure any essential yet bespoke elements (flooring/ bathroom fittings etc) on time? Then you essentially have two separate projects on the go. We've got a biggish build ongoing at the moment and it's hard enough for dh & me to sing from the same hymnsheet. I would absolutely nnot want a third party on board.

NattyTile Wed 17-Feb-16 19:46:41

Let them know you're thinking about it. Might mean you could share the party walk rather than each building separate ones, even if you don't do any other building bit for a while. Neighbours did this - knew they wanted to extend in a year or so, so gave permission for our extension to go right up on the boundary. Which meant extra inches inside, always handy.

superram Thu 18-Feb-16 16:27:19

You can build up to (and over if party wall agreement states this) so might be worth doing it. Have no idea of 30cm gap, I think you may be wrong. You need a party wall agreement if excavating within 3m of a boundary.

PastaLaFeasta Thu 18-Feb-16 17:20:25

I'm not wrong but aware this can vary council to council and the wording below shows that an agreement could be reached to exceed this. I've followed our specific LA's guidance.

"To make sure that no part of the extension (including guttering and foundations) crosses the boundary line, it is recommended that the side walls of the extension are set in from the property boundary by at least 0.3m (30cm)."

I might wait for the neighbour to send out the details and see if it matches up. Her English wasn't the best on the one occasion I spoke with her and this is very technical - and a back pain flair up isn't making me the best communicator right now. But it would never be a joint project or application, just cooperative to make it better for both parties. I guess we can submit an application without building for several months. I'm feeling overwhelmed just keeping (and failing) the house tidy with two small people over half term. Will a bigger home make it less messy or just more space to mess up? Decluttering is my first job! Thanks.

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