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I'm starting to wonder if there's ever been a murder over a party wall agreement

23 replies

foxinsocks · 09/03/2010 19:07

all we are doing is converting the loft ffs

one neighbour perfectly happy

other neighbour has dissented and is refusing to appoint an agreed surveyor so now we have to pay our fees and her fees - oh and of course, she's chosen a surveyor whose basic cost is (wait for it) £1000 which is quite frankly taking the piss given that ours costs about £400 and is doing the same thing

OH AND I FORGOT TO MENTION this is the woman who 6 years ago did a complete refurb of the house - excavation, RSJs the works - with no party wall agreement at all


I wish we had taken her to court now. Do you think the surveyors will take this into account as it was 6 years ago? We wrote letters complaining but she had moved abroad so we think the builders just tore them up. I did complain to the council but the minute we did that, they started working double time and finished the job grrrrr

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skinsl · 09/03/2010 19:39

this is so annoying, our neighbour took 2 months to sign the thing!
What we did figure out is that she really didn't understand it, she didn't trust that the guy wasn't working for us.
have you spoken to your neighbour, or just given her the forms to sign?

cyb · 09/03/2010 19:41

Does your neighbour have to appoint a surveyor?

foxinsocks · 09/03/2010 19:47

no, we spoke to her and she was fine when we spoke to her

yes she has appointed one - normally you would appoint one and then we would use hers (called an agreed surveyor) but she has specifically requested that we don't use hers as ours which means she has to have one, we have one and knowing the type of person she is, we will end up appointing an independent one which means we will pay for 3 :-(

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foxinsocks · 09/03/2010 19:48

what pisses me off the most is 6 years ago, when she excavated the ground in the back, she never informed us and ds nearly fell in the hole as he just opened the back door and ran out (as we didn't know the hole was there)

we complained and they told us to f off!

am kicking myself for not taking her to court!

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Toots · 09/03/2010 20:16

I will kill her for you. (You might need to kill mine. Watch this space). Perhaps I could arrange for an RSJ to fall on her head. There would be something rather poetic about that, don't you think?

foxinsocks · 09/03/2010 20:19

oh thank you toots

lol at poetic

yes I will be hugely sympathetic should the same fate befall you

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Elibean · 10/03/2010 12:15

And you both have my sympathies (and services, though am not strong enough to hoist an RSJ very high ).

We had a very slow party wall process with a neighbour who announced plans to build a basement just as we were about to exchange contracts and sell our house. It took six months, we were lucky not to lose our buyer - but it did mean having two separate surveyors, to keep our buyer happy. Neighbour was so cross, we ended up paying half the costs out of goodwill

Now, we are still waiting for our party wall agreement in new house, and obstructive neighbour has got about 7 days left of her notice to appoint or give up: this means, if she doesnt' appoint anyone at all, that our surveyor has to appoint a different surveyor on her behalf, and thats that. We're almost beyond caring about costs, just want it to happen....

This too shall pass [attempts serenity]

Elibean · 10/03/2010 12:16

fox, I would be livid about the hole incident. Did your neighbour ever apologize/offer explanation for her lack of party wall discussions?!

claricebeansmum · 10/03/2010 12:19

Both sets of our neighbors signed them whilst I stood on the doorstep with them and the assumption on all sides that it would be OK - and it was! Don't remember having to get surveyors in or anything...

foxinsocks · 10/03/2010 12:57

no nothing Elibean. She moved out the entire time while she had building work done (6 months) with no contact number for her, nothing. So we had no way to get hold of her.

I now realise we were too nice really but I knew nothing about our rights and we had just moved in (she bought the property after we had bought ours) and I had a new baby and was completely out of it tbh. I am going to raise it with our surveyor because I want her to pay for her costs - I know it doesn't say that in the Act but our other neighbour, who happens to be a lawyer, said there is some precedent that if she did work on the party wall without notification to us, then she should bear some of the costs if she refuses to use an agreed surveyor.

I could just do without it. Both dh and I ludicrously busy at work with both of us needing to travel a lot over the next month. Am almost tempted to pull out of everything but ultimately, we have to get this work done as the roof is unstable so it's as much in her benefit as anything arrrghhh!

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Elibean · 10/03/2010 16:01

You poor love. on your behalf. I think your lawyer neighbour might well be right....either way, if she was reasonable when you spoke to her (the annoying neighbour, that is) then would definitely be worth having a chat and saying you'd be happy to let her use whatever surveyor she likes, but that given the history you're quite upset and would appreciate her paying the extra costs.

If nothing else, I would want her to know how I feel! And she may have utterly blanked all that, and have a conscience somewhere in there, and be embarrassed...worth talking to her about it.

lalalonglegs · 10/03/2010 16:15

I wonder if you can register the fact that there was no PWA with the Land Registry - it would mean the work was illegal and she might have problems if she decided to sell. Might be worth looking into.

sweetkitty · 10/03/2010 16:37

Can someone explain to me what a party wall agreement actually is? I have heard all about them but don't actually know what they are.

We are planning an extension just now but will probably have to keep a metre from the neighbours property,it's a wraparound side and back and I think they may moan about lack of light into their garden if we go ahead and build it.

lalalonglegs · 10/03/2010 16:52

It is an agreement drawn up between you and neighbours who share walls or boundaries (party walls). In it, you undertake to give your neighbours 8 weeks' notice of the upcoming build, show them plans and they can ask for a surveyor to be appointed (at your expense) to look after their interests (make sure that your work is structurally sounds and does not cause damage to their property mostly). It is a civilised bit of legislation which is often used as a weapon by those fearful of change or whom dislike their neighbours. They can't stop you building but can slow the whole thing down and cause you headaches and expense.

sweetkitty · 10/03/2010 17:03

Thank you we plan to show the neighbours the plans as soon as we have agreed them and I was thinking as a gesture of goodwill and for the upheavel/loss of light to their garden we will offer to have their driveway monoblocked at the same time as ours as I know they have had quotes to do it but never got round to it (will keep it in back pocket just now as a bargaining tool and will need to find out how much it will cost).

I do think the builders will need to take down the fence between us for a bit to gain access for the build.

The thing is they never sit in their garden and cut their grass about once a year.

brimfull · 10/03/2010 17:12

You have my empathy.
I have posted on here before about our neighbours from hell when we exstended.
We also had to pay for their most expensive surveyor..bastards. I am still bitter , 4 yrs later.

foxinsocks · 10/03/2010 20:04

thanks everyone - I will have a word with her I think Elibean. Despite her being a total mare, she cannot escape the fact that she didn't give us any notification of her building works so she is on the back foot a bit though no doubt she will claim to know nothing of our complaints grr.

yes, I can see that happening ggirl. It's just taking the piss isn't it! I really resent them choosing a surveyor who costs virtually the same as a divorce lawyer.

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foxinsocks · 13/03/2010 14:50


we have been told to put aside £2k for the party wall because she is being so difficult

and, even worse, our neighbours are having exactly the same work done as us (so 2 doors down from her) and her (difficult neigbbour) ex husband is a v well known architect

she has decided to get him to lobby the council to say that our plans (and the neighbour's) were unsafe and there was not enough steel. Now these plans have already been approved by the council and building control but because he is an influential nob bloke, the council (it seems though I don't know for sure) have called a halt to the building work next door.

I am now thinking of employing a lawyer and suing her if this goes on but not only does that add to costs, it then also means we'd probably have to disclose it if we wanted to cut our losses and leave!

the worst thing is that she's quite friendly just totally bitter as she couldn't do a loft conversion when she moved in (when she did her unapproved building work grr) but planning rules changed which made it easier for us to do it!

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ageing5yearseachyear · 13/03/2010 17:07

maddening isn't it? my sister got pp, instructed a party wall surveyor chap who, having spoken to the neighbours told her that she should think carefully about going ahead as he thought that they were going to be an absolute nightmare.

their house had a conservatory that intruded onto my sisters land by a few centimetres which made their extension difficult- but sis was willing to alter extension so they wouldn't have to put things right- they threatened to sue her!

as is was only verbal- they abandoned the extension and stuck the house on the market. decided it just was not worth the hassle. they are hoping to sell it to developers or some really horrible noisy person!

foxinsocks · 13/03/2010 19:12

oh no ageing! how horrific!

yes, I can understand her sentiment - it makes me feel like doing exactly the same thing tbh (moving!) ARGGHH

I hope she gets a buyer soon!

we are going to see what's happening with the structural stuff next week but if she carries on being this difficult, I may get tempted to throw in the towel

if she is this bad now, can you imagine how bad she will be once it starts arrghhh!

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Elibean · 14/03/2010 14:15

OMG, Fox and ageing, what nightmares. Fox, is it hearsay that the council has stopped the building work? If they have, having already given permission, they are going to look pretty silly....I would think that in that case, they would have to agree to re-starting the building work on condition that more steel was used or something.

Has anyone else in your street done their loft? Is their a precedent, so you can show the conversions are safe? Its pretty unusual for a loft conversion to be that bitterly contested, they're not that intrusive...I'm shocked!

As for us, we're still waiting for our party wall award on one side - seems to be going ahead on the other. If our surveyor hasn't heard back from her by mid week, thats it: we get to employ another one (admittedly for another £800, potentially) who will do the job asap. If she decides to employ one of her own choosing, it could take much longer, of course...

Wishing you loads of luck in the week to come, hope its not as awful as its sounding atm.

bronze · 14/03/2010 14:24

Ageing your poor sister. Have to say I would have kicked off about them being on my land in her place. Two can play at that game

Elibean · 20/03/2010 17:26

How's it going, Foxy?

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