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Neighbours planning large extension - need advice please

(21 Posts)
Admarks Tue 08-Nov-16 20:40:42

Hello everyone, we have just had official notification that our neighbours are planning a fairly large double storey and single storey extension. We knew they were planning something as they've mentioned it in passing, but never indicated the scale and even suggested that they did not need planning permission!

The plans indicate that the double storey extension is just over 1 meter from our boundary but the single storey extension is right next to our boundary. Our garage forms part of the boundary between the properties. The garage (attached to the side of our house) was built about 30-40 years ago, has a single skin of bricks and unknown depths of foundations. Although the single storey extension and our garage will not be adjoining, there will be no passing space between the two structures if the plans are approved.

We are worried about the scale of the extension and proximity to our garage and house and possible detrimental structural effects on our house (we've been here just over 2 years and ploughed all our spare money into the house and now worrying that our property will decrease in value and also suffer at the hands of the extension).

I believe that the Party Wall Act applies, but this seems to not really give us that much protection from damage to our property as it is not enforceable- is this correct?

Our neighbours have also suggested that they may need to use our rainwater goods for their own extension (we will refuse this request).

We have no case with privacy (no windows on the side of the side of the extension - just a big rendered wall), or loss of light (the double storey extension is virtually squaring off a previous extension).

Our neighbours seem reasonable people and we will try and sit down with them to discuss amicably this weekend, but at the back of my mind, the plans will have been submitted to comply with the requirements and so there really needs to be a good case made for them to be rejected. If there is no chance of rejection we don't want to sour the relationship with our neighbours as suffering all the negative impacts of the build, plus loosing the relationship with the neighbours is loose loose.

Can anyone help with where we can go to get expert (economical) advise (or can someone here help)?

We love our house and wanted it to be our forever home,

NewIdeasToday Tue 08-Nov-16 20:43:07

Presumably they live their house too. If you won't lose light or privacy what is the reason for your objection?

Admarks Tue 08-Nov-16 20:55:08

Hi Newideas, it's the proximity to our boundary and the potential negative effect to the structure of the house. Essentially, digging modern foundations next to our old garage could structurally damage our garage, which is in turn joined to our house. We have visions of a collapse our our garage and structural damage to our house and a lengthy legal process to get it all resolved.

We don't think light to our house will be affected though it's difficult to tell until its built. By which time it's too late.

Do they have to get written permission to use out rainwater goods?

I think we are both upset about the thought of huge disruption to us (selfish I know) - I'm pregnant with 1st child (due next month) and FIL is terminally ill with cancer. It's just getting too much to cope with.

Wrinklytights Tue 08-Nov-16 23:42:42

They can't do work that damages your home, that's what a party wall agreement is for. I think you're being a bit unfair trying to object because you don't want disuptive building work going on next door.

Wrinklytights Tue 08-Nov-16 23:45:25

www.gov.uk/guidance/party-wall-etc-act-1996-guidance

namechangedtoday15 Wed 09-Nov-16 09:31:30

Yes, the party wall agreement will cover your concerns. They have to serve a notice on you 2 months before they start work and you can then say you want to appoint a surveyor (at their cost). They will check that any works carried out don't affect your property and there can also be times set out for what is reasonable in terms of when they can do the works (i.e. not all day everyday including weekends).

But you are right, permission is likely to be granted on the basis of what you have said, so you need to work with them and communicate if it is your forever house. You don't need to fall out about it.

hooliodancer Wed 09-Nov-16 10:40:36

They are supposed to get a party wall agreement. You can appoint your own party wall surveyor to act for you which they have to pay for. Money can be placed in an account to cover any potential damage.

The party wall act is an ass though. You are right, it is not enforceable in law. Our neighbours refused to get a party wall agreement. They started the work without one. We went to our solicitor who told us that the only way we could stop them would be to get an injunction which would have cost us 3k. We had no protection and they damaged our property. They now refuse to pay for the damage and we have to go though the stress of taking them to court. I am on antidepressants due to the stress and we are moving from our forever house.

We have a huge looming extension right up to the boundary, we are out of pocket and feel we have to get away.

So my advice, no matter how reasonable they seem, is to have your own surveyor which will cost them more money.

Be aware, that the party wall act gives them rights to use your land to build- so having put the act in motion they can have builders in your garden doing the work. You need to ensure your surveyor sets out clearly when they can have access, they will have to provide compensation for this also.

Read as much as you can so you know what to expect. You can have a free 30 minute consultation with a party wall surveyor if you call The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors helpline.

Good luck.

Kidnapped Wed 09-Nov-16 10:52:06

How do they intend to build the single storey extension? Or the double-storey extension for that matter?

By using your land for scaffolding?

And how do they intend to access that wall for maintenance after it is built?

By accessing your land?

missyB1 Wed 09-Nov-16 10:52:40

You have my sympathy OP. Our old neighbors built their extension right next to our fence, leaving us looking out of our living room patio doors onto a large bright pink brick wall!! We lost a lot of light and I started to hate our living room. In the end we just had to move because I felt they had ruined our home for us.

We had tried to object and got nowhere. People can be very selfish.

blackhairbrush Wed 09-Nov-16 10:58:45

Have you actually spoken to them about your concerns? If not I think that should be your first step.

shovetheholly Wed 09-Nov-16 12:42:17

Speak to them first. They may be willing to scale back.

If they're not, they will need full planning permission. Make it clear that you will object at this stage - your views will carry weight.

GeorgeTheThird Wed 09-Nov-16 12:46:27

Someone extended your house right up to the boundary 30 or 40 years ago, though, they only want to do the same.

YelloDraw Wed 09-Nov-16 12:56:40

If they're not, they will need full planning permission. Make it clear that you will object at this stage - your views will carry weight

On what basis will the OPs objections carry weight?

How do you maintain your wall OP if you are right up to the boundary?

FlamingoSnuffle Wed 09-Nov-16 13:12:09

If someone wanted to build up to my boundary wall I would employ a planning consultant to ask what issues I can raise in my "comments."

And no I would not grant them permission to use my rainwater goods and that too would go on the planning site.

Be aware that if this does go ahead and you refuse to allow them onto your property to complete the brickwork you could end up forcing the builder to do hand over brick, which means they cannot neaten the mortar joints.

H1ghw4y61revisited Wed 09-Nov-16 14:47:24

Your garage doesn't sound like it is a party wall. It's just on your land and not abutted by the neighbouring property if I've read that correctly. Also there is no "right to light" even if your light was curtailed. In the unlikely event that their building works cause your garage to fall down they will be obliged to reinstate it, this cost would be covered by insurance and is unlikely to cause a massive issue. (although obviously would not be ideal to have your garage fall down). I don't see that you have any grounds to object as it sounds like a reasonable extension.

namechangedtoday15 Wed 09-Nov-16 16:18:21

It won't be a party wall per se but the work will still be covered by the act depending on the depth of the foundations because of the proximity to the boundary.

Cabbagesandcustard Wed 09-Nov-16 20:52:55

I think you have to take a deep breath and roll with it. Not saying you shouldn't object, if that is what you want to do - but unless your reasons for objection are valid, and providing the work they want to do meets local planning policy, they will probably get go-ahead anyway.
I am 6 months into a nine month project of my neighbour's and on the basis of neighbourliness did agree to have quite a bit of scaffold in my garden for a couple of them for a couple of months. It's not been great, and there have been days when it's been really noisy and messy - but not that many bad days in 6 months.
Stick your heels in a little, be firm and insist on anything agreeed to in writing before they begin. I was happy to hassle my neighbour about the scaffold once the agreed time was up!
The party wall act is here to protect your garage. And as for them building right up to the boundary, well, your predecessor evidently did so with his garage a few decades ago - and if at any point in the future you decide to replace / convert the garage to a room, I'll wager that you'd want to maximise space and go up to the boundary again - which might then affect their house / foundations.
Sharing rainwater goods probably isn't essential but you might end up with a better finish / less gap between the structures if you are open to the possibility.
I don't know where you live, city, town, village, suburbs, but it's all part of living alongside other people. If you don't want neighbours building nearby, well go and live in the middle of nowhere.

Cabbagesandcustard Wed 09-Nov-16 21:08:36

They are not allowed to build up to the boundary line and then hang gutters and drainpipes - if it's your land, it's also your airspace above.

Admarks Wed 09-Nov-16 23:32:11

Thanks for all the advice. I think we've been a bit emotional about it all. We are not going to object, I don't think it will change the outcome and affect our relationship with them.

Our next steps, speak nicely to the neighbours about our concerns: use of rainwater goods and potential for damage to our garage and insist on the appointment of a surveyor under the party wall act.

Yello to maintain the garage and clear our guttering we have use their driveway (always ask permission, and they're always fine about it). We will have a problem with that once the extension goes up, but we accept that's our problem not theirs... Neighbours will have the same issues with their wall and guttering though confused

Kidnapped we will need to ask if they need to use our land for scaffolding/access. I suspect not as the rear boundary beyond the garage is a fairly high hedge.

Hoolio your poor thing- it sounds like you're in an awful situation. I think our own surveyor will be needed as they should have our interests at heart

Cabbage thanks, I have spoken to the council planning dept regarding their extension guttering as it looks to be overhanging ours on the plans

mrpartywall Fri 11-Nov-16 00:39:20

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

GiddyOnZackHunt Fri 11-Nov-16 00:54:30

I think it would be reasonable to take note of the advice on this thread, sit down with them and say "We understand why you want to do this, we are OK with it but can we work together to keep everything friendly and positive? So they check your foundations, agree guttering improvements, limit working hours while you have a newborn etc. Get your concerns out now.

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