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Elderly Neighbours, Party Wall and our Loft Conversion(48 Posts)
Hello all! We recently brought our dream home in a lovely area. It's a semi detached bungalow and approx a third of the bungalows along the street have had a loft conversion done. We bought the house which is currently too small for us - with a view to doing the same. We have spend a few thousand pounds so far on drawings and having the pre work done. We have planning permission under permitted consent. Our elderly neighbours have been LOVELY to us since we moved in - gifts for our children etc. I mentioned to them a month or so ago about the conversion and the elderly lady said 'it has to be done'. They have now seen our plans and we need a party wall agreement. This has really upset them and they are appointing an adviser. I feel TERRIBLE. I think they can see the full impact now they have seen the plans - we will need to put steels in the wall between our properties. Our dormer will overlook their garden. We could potentially cause damage to their property. My partner still very much wants to go ahead with the project. I want to move!! I'm so worried about the amount of stress we will cause them. Any ideas? How can I make this easier for them? I do know that if we hadn't bought the property, a builder was the other interested party. And even if we sold it now, I think a developer would be the one to snap it up!
What exactly has upset them? It sounds like you are going about everything the right way. Do they have the roof extension?
Can windows be moved so they are less overlooked? A promise to correct any damage to their property? Any sweetener to offer them?
I think it's lovely of you to care about the impact on them and they sound reasonable people so something can be worked out.
Thanks so much for your replies! We invited them round for a cup of tea, but they declined and said they've appointed an 'adviser', but wouldn't give details when we asked. I took them round a bunch of flowers to say sorry for all the inconvenience and the lady phoned today to say thank you. We are trying to go about things the right way - they only thing they've specifically mentioned is their satellite dish, and we would of course pay for any repositioning etc. They don't have a loft conversion, but they have had a brick built conservatory - so some sort of extension work - which is on our boundary line. Dormer windows are needed, and they are the same as other properties in the area. It IS going to be an huge upheaval for them - noise, possible damage to their property and an overlooked garden when all done.
Are you having dormer windows front and back? If not, could you have one on the front, not the back?
Do they know you'll be paying for the party wall surveyor? Could they be upset as they've misunderstood and think it will cost them money?
Could you have a frosted window or a velux?
Changing the window is difficult as we’d have to completely change our plans, structural drawings and resubmit to council. Neighbours haven’t said about being overlooked, it’s more my worry. The only concern they’ve expressed is their satellite dish. They do realise that we will pay for surveyor.
Do they not realise the dish can be fixed elsewhere? Their reaction seems rather ott.
Appointing a party wall adviser is totally normal and sensi
Sensible of them. Am not sure it’s a sign they are upset. I think you are over reacting.
They are elderly, and the lady told me she thinks her husband has dementia- so I think they will get anxious about a LOT of things that are not really an issue.
I do think instructing a surveyor is wise, but I’m sure we’ve upset them. The elderly guy climbed over our front wall, he was so anxious to tell us about the dish. He’d taken photos of all the dormers of the properties in the area - to show us how it might affect his dish.
I think your update explains a lot, it sounds like he has fixated on this one thing. Anyone else would probably just arrange for it to be moved, the lady really should try and reassure him it can be easy fixed. Do they have any family support who could help reassure them?
No, the lady was in agreement with him. I think she might be a bit scared of him, I’ve heard him shouting at her. Thanks so much for replies! It’s really helping to talk it through! We did try explaining about the dish, but they talked over us.
That's understandable then that they would have concerns considering the added layer of vulnerability with health concerns. Once they've sought independent advice via the mystery advisor and been reassured I'm sure it will be fine. Their being cautious and extra sensible, your doing everything right and are understanding - your the perfect neighbour combo.
I don’t think they have family - and the lady seems a bit fixated by my two children e.g. she cane onto our drive and lifted my son up in his car seat, remarking how heavy it was...
Could you arrange to have the dish resited now? I guess they are worried about the noise, dust etc of the build. And it will be noisy and it will be dusty.
Oh just saw the other updates! Errr fixated on a satellite dish is a bit much but again if they have reassurance, on repeat, from advisor and surveyor then fingers crossed it will sink in. Bit of a stretch can you get it drawn on plans? Seeing it visually might help.
Thank you!! I do hope so!! I think - in the future- we could be very valuable to them if they do need help, especially as I think they don’t have family. I might get my daughter to bake some cakes!
Oh that’s a good idea Haz! Brilliant. When we talk to them verbally, they talk over us - so I think a surveyor, and putting things in writing - and a drawing of where their dish will go. And a nice builder...
You come across as very patronising.
Why will your extension damage their garden? No wonder they’re anti it.
You knew the building work would be disruptive to any neighbours when you planned to buy the property. No neighbour would ever welcome building work next door. Drop the guilt complex, there's nothing you can do to make their lives easier.
We've just done a loft conversion. Our slightly stuffy neighbours complained about everything. Yes there was lots of noise and dust and inconvenience. Yes we now overlook their garden.
Did we care? No. Our loft is magnificent.
Elderly people often find change difficult to manage, especially if dementia is potentially in the picture. Any advisor they appoint will tell them they don't have grounds to object. It will be a pain to get your PW agreement sorted but it will get there eventually. And in time they will get used to it and their satellite dish will work just fine in a new location.
This is your dream house. Keep dreaming.
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