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Party wall question

(7 Posts)
Theonlywayis Thu 23-Feb-17 15:47:02

My neighbour is planning a single storey extension and wanted to start work next week but has not served us a party wall agreement notice. (we are joined onto them in a terrace so foundations would Def be within 3 metres of our property). We mentioned this to them and have today received an email from their architect saying that he can act on our behalf as well as theirs with regards to the party wall process and that if we use a different surveyor it will cost the neighbours a lot of extra money. My neighbours generally seem pretty reasonable and I have no wish to cost them money unnecessarily and really don't mind them extending but is it a bad idea to use their architects and expect them to be able to remain impartial? I am concerned about the potential for damage to our house. We are hoping to do a loft conversion ourselves at some point in the future so would like to keep the neighbours onside. Any thoughts please?

GeminiG Thu 23-Feb-17 16:01:45

I couldn't read and run, as we are in the throws of a Party Wall issue with our neighbour who didn't serve the Notice on us and then damaged our property... anyway, the Party Wall Notice should have been served at least two months before they wish to start work. It would seem to me that they hoped they would get away with it, and you have now caught them out. It is a legal requirement serve the Notice, and I would be very concerned that their architect didn't ensure that it was in place prior to work starting. You probably need to get in touch with a surveyor ( try googling for a specialist party wall one in your area) and they will advise what you can do. I wouldn't worry about the cost to them, given that they have tried to go about the work unlawfully, and you really will want an impartial surveyor on your side! Try the Pyramus and Thisbe Club as that is a membership club for Party Wall surveyors. It could be that your only route is an injunction to stop the work and get the necessary Notice in place. You have my sympathy: it is horrible when someone puts you into this situation, but the risks of damage to your property should be your priority. Hope that helps, and sorry to be so down about it, it's been a stressful few weeks dealing with our neighbour and the damage caused!

Theonlywayis Thu 23-Feb-17 16:50:34

Thanks Gemini. Tbf I don't think my neighbours were trying to pull a fast one just that they haven't done their research and have had bad advice. The bad advise thing though is what's making me think we do need an independent surveyor rather than just agreeing to use their architect who apparently hadn't actually told them about their responsibilities under the PW act. He seems a bit rubbish frankly

GeminiG Thu 23-Feb-17 19:09:14

Fair enough! I know we have had a bad experience, as we actually asked on two separate occasions if work was being done to the PW and she lied and said no... so we've been on the back foot since the damage was done and didn't have the protection that the Act and the surveyor would have given us. The architect is very wrong not to have told them that: it should be a key part of their advice as it is such a key legal requirement. You need a surveyor in place, not an architect, and certainly not theirs! Good luck!

caroldecker Thu 23-Feb-17 19:34:00

I would ask to appoint my own in your circumstance. I would also expect them to return the favour and be difficult when you do your loft conversion.

uppitywho Thu 23-Feb-17 19:44:15

i think you can agree one surveyor to do the agreement but it cant be someone already advising one party as would not be seen as independent.

newmumwithquestions Thu 23-Feb-17 20:08:46

I'd agree that you need someone impartial. We've thought about getting an extension done and it's a bit of a mare as we've got a party wall with a neighbour who doesn't maintain their property (so I'm scared that if we did work it might look like our work had caused issues when they are there already). If we do it we're getting a party wall agreement in place for both our sakes and it was one of the first things a builder friend said to us to look into. My understanding was that if we go ahead we'll pay for an independent surveyor for the agreement.

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