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  • FIRST POST
    • Notsurebut
    • By Notsurebut 6th Jul 17, 12:00 AM
    • 11Posts
    • 13Thanks
    Notsurebut
    Advice on how best to avoid a dispute please
    • #1
    • 6th Jul 17, 12:00 AM
    Advice on how best to avoid a dispute please 6th Jul 17 at 12:00 AM
    I'm trying to not get into a dispute with my neighbour ; they have got planning permission for a single storey rear extension which will fill in their side return (typical Victorian terrace properties) and I didnt object cos I have no problem with the extension.

    They havent popped round or asked to discuss with me, again thats fine...except today on the doorstep they dropped into a brief hello exchange that the work is starting next month and the builder will be removing the boundary fence (which they paid for, before I moved in, and which I've not been allowed to stain or paint or grow any plants up, because its their fence evrn tho its on the boundary).

    Ok so they are removing the fence, and I have to clear my garden table and chairs, pots, garden tools, bike etc from my side return...so the builders can work from my garden as the new extension will be to the boundary line. Also the builders wont want my dog going out in the (my) garden, and they will need to leave equipment etc in my garden for a few weeks as there wont be room in my neighbours' garden. So I have now been told.

    Work starts in August.

    I was slightly stunned, and speechless.

    I really dont want to get into any arguments, have no problems with the extension as such ; I am just not sure how they have any rights to dictate like this...or how I deal. I'm partly retired, live by myself, and feel quite intimidated. Also I do value my privacy, I'm not keen on having builders directly outside my kitchen and dining room windows, and I love my garden.

    Any practical advice please ?
Page 2
    • fezster
    • By fezster 6th Jul 17, 3:13 PM
    • 179 Posts
    • 89 Thanks
    fezster
    I have been told that will cost me around 500 pounds just for initial advice etc, and to be prepared to pay up to 5,000 on average in total.
    Originally posted by Notsurebut
    As said, you should not have to pay any costs. It is the person undertaking the work that has to pay.
    • Notsurebut
    • By Notsurebut 6th Jul 17, 3:25 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Notsurebut
    I rang a local property surveyors' office and was told payment had to be made upfront before they will do anything.

    I only moved to my house a little over a year ago, so I am still finding my feet / getting to know people. Which is partly why I raised the question here; that and the fact that altho I only created a user name yday I regularly read advice posts here and think a lot make sense.
    • fezster
    • By fezster 6th Jul 17, 3:48 PM
    • 179 Posts
    • 89 Thanks
    fezster
    Have a look at the act yourself: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/523010/Party_Wall_etc__Act_1996_-_Explanatory_Booklet.pdf

    Best to have a conversation with your neighbour and politely inform them of their obligations under the act. They will then appoint a surveyor and you will be able to put your concerns to him/her. If they do not appoint one and work begins, you then have legal redress to have a surveyor appointed. However, best to arm yourself with this info for as and when you require it.
    • Notsurebut
    • By Notsurebut 6th Jul 17, 3:51 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Notsurebut
    Yes that is what I am hoping to be able to do, its been suggested here a few times.

    Incidentally I did speak to the Citizen Advice Bureau last week ; rather hopeless as they advised me to just put up and shut up as it would only be for a few months. Erm no, not my preferred option to be honest
    • Notsurebut
    • By Notsurebut 7th Jul 17, 4:09 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Notsurebut
    A short update. I doorknocked the neighbours yesterday, and tried to ask more details about the work as well as mentioning the Party Wall Act; to be told that is irrelevant and they can do as they wish as they have planning permission and i should stop being awkward.

    So my son asked a few of his mates, and directed me to the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. I have had an informative conversation with a local-ish person, who has suggested initially writing the neighbours a note pointing out that I need to receive any appropriate Notices and plans / drawings for my consideration well before any work is started, and giving them the weblink to the Act guidance - pretty much as Dave here advised, but in writing to avoid any misinterpretations.

    He also suggested I follow my son's plan of getting my own fence put up, painted, and adorned with hanging baskets etcetc on my property within the next couple of weeks, to avoid any possible misinterpretation of access and to keep my property and my dog secure.

    He did confirm that yes there are slightly cavalier surveyors who will ask for payment upfront, and to steer clear of those.

    He also offered to advise me if and when needed, and will suggest a local PWS at the appropriate time.

    Thanks to everyone here who offered advice, much of which he has now clarified and confirmed. Plus I have his contact details if and as the situation unfolds.
    • AndyMc.....
    • By AndyMc..... 7th Jul 17, 7:35 PM
    • 731 Posts
    • 557 Thanks
    AndyMc.....
    So in a nutshell its not unreasonable of me to ask when they plan to start exactly; to suggest the builders put up a temporary fence; and for them to keep all tools etc on their land. I guess i just have to put up with them using my side return to actually construct the brick wall of the extension. Interesting about the foundations tho, except quite how i physically know what they are doing except by peering thru my windows i am not sure!

    Shame about my son's plan not being practical; would i be ok to get a fence put up once the work is done? Rather than staring at a brick wall?
    Originally posted by Notsurebut
    It's your land so you don't have to allow them to keep stuff on it. However it's your dog and your responsibility to have a fence.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 8th Jul 17, 7:08 AM
    • 13,173 Posts
    • 36,052 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    What is this right of access you keep referring too, that's news to me. Surely not the Access to Neighbouring Land Act? That does not apply to building an extension. Neither does the Party Wall Act grant access rights to build an extension.

    The OP is perfectly entitled to tell the neighbour and their builder to Foxtrot Oscar and deny them any access. This would potentially be counterproductive as they would have to build the wall overhand from the neighbour's side leaving the OP to look out at a rather ugly untidy wall.

    Far better to speak to the neighbour and grant them "limited" access with a temporary fence/hoarding on the condition they serve notice under the Party Wall Act and a joint agreed surveyor is appointed to draw up an agreement.
    Originally posted by teneighty
    Agreed.

    This work is "improvement" and not "maintenance". The neighbour could only use the Access to Neighbouring Property Act to force access against OP's will for "maintenance". An extension is "improvement". Therefore the neighbour CANNOT force OP to allow access. In his position personally - I would choose between not allowing access at all to my garden on the one hand or allowing access only at times of my choosing and under my direct supervision and they wouldnt be allowed to store any of their property on my land or interrupt my normal usage of my garden.

    The blimmin' nerve of it to just tell you to move your possessions in your own garden and not let your dog out in your own garden etc....
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 08-07-2017 at 7:11 AM.
    ploughing my own furrow...

    No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 8th Jul 17, 8:05 AM
    • 22,925 Posts
    • 88,081 Thanks
    Davesnave
    Agreed.

    This work is "improvement" and not "maintenance". The neighbour could only use the Access to Neighbouring Property Act to force access against OP's will for "maintenance". An extension is "improvement". Therefore the neighbour CANNOT force OP to allow access. In his position personally - I would choose between not allowing access at all to my garden on the one hand or allowing access only at times of my choosing and under my direct supervision and they wouldnt be allowed to store any of their property on my land or interrupt my normal usage of my garden.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    In the circumstances, I would choose defined access.

    This is because the extension will be built regardless, but as teneighty says, if the wall is constructed from the other side, using overhand laying, it won't look too special when complete. It may even look deliberately awful. And who will that effect most?

    A close relative of mine faced this problem. The wall was built, but he didn't go out of his way to make it look good. Four years down the line, the vexatious neighbour, who'd had to look at it daily, was asking politely if he would consider giving it a nicer finish. Formerly, all he'd done was scream abuse.

    My relative did...... in his own time! Others might not bother.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 8th Jul 17, 8:21 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    True that OP needs to be aware they might deliberately muck up the look of the wall - but boundary walls can be hidden one way or another if it comes to that.

    But OP needs to weigh that up against invasion of his privacy/not being able to use his garden as normal whilst this is going on/etc.

    Personally I'd probably go for allowing it under extremely close supervision and them having to accept they werent going to hinder my use of my own garden whilst this was going on or store any of their stuff in my garden ditto. This is the attitude I took in my last house - until I found their workmans paint splattered on my plants and the neighbour refused to put matters right (ie buy me new plants). After that I had to refuse access full stop.

    I allowed access on current house - until the same thing happened and I found there had been damage to my property and the neighbour this time refusing to put things right as well.

    Now I just don't allow access here either full stop. Otherwise things land up going "one way" - as I've ensured damage was put right where my workmen caused it before. What's the point of me "doing the right thing" if neighbours don't?
    ploughing my own furrow...

    No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 8th Jul 17, 8:41 AM
    • 23,578 Posts
    • 65,737 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    The don't "deliberately" muck up the wall! Try writing upside down and see how good your handwriting looks. Same for a bricky trying to work over a wall instead of in front of it. They're against gravity to boot.

    The other thing the worries me about your erecting a fence, OP is that the foundations of the new wall are going to undermine those of the fence. If the wall is close to the boundary then the fence will almost certainly come down as soon as it went up anyway. It's their issue to reinstate it, but it doesn't necessarily solve the dog issue. Temporary fencing hired from a builders merchant would be better in the short term.

    You've caught the neighbour on the back foot, as they did you. Hopefully you've also now sent the letter and now they will research the PWA.

    This is the third time I've said it but it will be better in future if this wall is built as a true party wall, straddling the boundary, rather than a boundary type wall sitting on their side. There is a post on the house buying board with photos that demonstrates why. You end up with two extensions a couple of inches apart that are impossible to maintain, when the ideal is to build a shared wall, just like the internal one that presently separates you.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 08-07-2017 at 8:44 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Notsurebut
    • By Notsurebut 8th Jul 17, 8:41 AM
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    • 13 Thanks
    Notsurebut
    " boundary walls can be hidden" ...exactly. behind the fence which I shall be having put up a couple of inches away from the junction line.

    See my further note posted above.

    I'm at the point of being fed up with their high handed dictates, and am now taking the appropriate steps to protect my interests.

    Such a shame its come to this ; we built an extension a good few years back on our house at the time, and kept in constant verbal communication all the way through with both sets of neighbours to check they were all ok with the plans and work.
    • AndyMc.....
    • By AndyMc..... 8th Jul 17, 8:43 AM
    • 731 Posts
    • 557 Thanks
    AndyMc.....
    True that OP needs to be aware they might deliberately muck up the look of the wall - but boundary walls can be hidden one way or another if it comes to that.

    But OP needs to weigh that up against invasion of his privacy/not being able to use his garden as normal whilst this is going on/etc.

    Personally I'd probably go for allowing it under extremely close supervision and them having to accept they werent going to hinder my use of my own garden whilst this was going on or store any of their stuff in my garden ditto. This is the attitude I took in my last house - until I found their workmans paint splattered on my plants and the neighbour refused to put matters right (ie buy me new plants). After that I had to refuse access full stop.

    I allowed access on current house - until the same thing happened and I found there had been damage to my property and the neighbour this time refusing to put things right as well.

    Now I just don't allow access here either full stop. Otherwise things land up going "one way" - as I've ensured damage was put right where my workmen caused it before. What's the point of me "doing the right thing" if neighbours don't?
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    What do you mean by extremely close supervision? Sound like you'd stand in your garden for the full length of the build.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 8th Jul 17, 8:45 AM
    • 23,578 Posts
    • 65,737 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    What do you mean by extremely close supervision? Sound like you'd stand in your garden for the full length of the build.
    Originally posted by AndyMc.....
    The builder will love that.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 8th Jul 17, 8:58 AM
    • 22,925 Posts
    • 88,081 Thanks
    Davesnave
    The builder will love that.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    There's probably nothing a tradesperson hates more than being in the crossfire between two adversarial neighbours, except perhaps being closely supervised by the one who's not paying.

    That's when those little 'accidents' tend to happen!
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 8th Jul 17, 9:04 AM
    • 23,578 Posts
    • 65,737 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    There's probably nothing a tradesperson hates more than being in the crossfire between two adversarial neighbours, except perhaps being closely supervised by the one who's not paying.

    That's when those little 'accidents' tend to happen!
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    It's advisable not to lump the builder in the same category as the neighbour. They are a third party, just doing their job and can often be the answer when neighbours are at arms. I send in Doozer. He'll listen and apologise to the neighbours until the cows come home. It makes them feel better, then he gets on with it. Wine helps.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • DaftyDuck
    • By DaftyDuck 8th Jul 17, 9:33 AM
    • 3,667 Posts
    • 7,361 Thanks
    DaftyDuck
    Ah, wine....

    That's why I love you slightly more than G_M...

    OP. Always take things like this steadily and quietly, adopt the gentle moral high ground, and never fly off the handle.
    • Notsurebut
    • By Notsurebut 8th Jul 17, 10:15 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Notsurebut
    @ daftyduck...im with you on the wine

    And im simply going to behave as tho im in a work situation...ex paramedic, so quite used to the breathe smile and focus way of dealing ��
    • karcher
    • By karcher 12th Jul 17, 5:26 AM
    • 1,229 Posts
    • 10,269 Thanks
    karcher
    Any progress to report OP?
    • Notsurebut
    • By Notsurebut 12th Jul 17, 11:44 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Notsurebut
    Note popped thru neighbours' letterbox on saturday; silence so far.

    My new fence being put up tomorrow.
    • loveka
    • By loveka 15th Jul 17, 5:20 PM
    • 339 Posts
    • 329 Thanks
    loveka
    I have been in this position exactly.

    If they come on your land without a party wall agreement in place it is trespass. If they do any damage it's criminal damage.

    The Party Wall Act DOES allow them to use your garden to build, but it protects you against any damage they may do.

    Our neighbours refused to get a party wall agreement. They bullied us into allowing them to use our garden with the ugly wall argument.

    They destroyed our garden and killed our plants. Our back fence came down when they took the side fence down. It cost us over £1000 to put it right. They refused to pay anything towards it.

    We are now moving because I can't bear being near to people who have treated me like this.

    You need to get a solicitor to write a letter telling them that they have obligations under the Party Wall Act. It will probably cost you £300 but if you don't do it you could end up in the position I am in.
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