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  • FIRST POST
    • Benspaghetti1
    • By Benspaghetti1 11th Jul 17, 3:19 PM
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    Benspaghetti1
    Party wall advice needed - deceased neighbour
    • #1
    • 11th Jul 17, 3:19 PM
    Party wall advice needed - deceased neighbour 11th Jul 17 at 3:19 PM
    Hi there,

    I live in a mid-terrace and in the process of planning a loft conversion. On one side of us we have a party wall agreement in place with the neighbour, but on the other we have not had a neighbour living there since the previous one died over 18 months ago. We never see anybody at the house and have conducted a search through the land registry and can see that the property is still registered in the name of the deceased. We have not seen anybody at the property for a long time and were hoping for some advice as to how we can proceed and whether a party wall agreement is absolutely required?

    Thank you in advance.
Page 1
    • Ozzuk
    • By Ozzuk 11th Jul 17, 4:25 PM
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    Ozzuk
    • #2
    • 11th Jul 17, 4:25 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Jul 17, 4:25 PM
    I'm sure Doozergirl will be along with proper advice but for now I'd say just crack on. If noone is living next door then who is going to object? I read somewhere that there is little power in PWA if the work is largely complete (which it will be in your case if noone notices) as its too late.

    You should of course try to ensure nothing is done that impacts their property, causes damage etc (joists/supports going into their property for instance) as that will cause issues when someone does notice. If I was responsible for next door I'd be more concerned that you fix anything rather than arranging a PWA when noone lives there.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 11th Jul 17, 4:51 PM
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    molerat
    • #3
    • 11th Jul 17, 4:51 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Jul 17, 4:51 PM
    https://www.gov.uk/party-walls-building-works

    2. Work you must tell your neighbour about

    You must tell your neighbour if you want to:
    • build on or at the boundary of your 2 properties
    • work on an existing party wall or party structure
    You need to send a notice, they have 2 weeks to respond. Will you need access to the property ? I would assume so if you are knocking through the party wall to install joists / steels.
    Last edited by molerat; 11-07-2017 at 5:02 PM.
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    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Jul 17, 5:08 PM
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    Doozergirl
    • #4
    • 11th Jul 17, 5:08 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Jul 17, 5:08 PM
    molerat, the problem is that the neighbour is dead. They're not going to response or give them access.

    If you serve notice and the neighbour doesn't reply within 14 days, then they're deemed to have dissented and you hire a PWS. Except you can't get access to do a report of condition...

    The upshot of the PWA is going to be that you rectify any damage. I'm inclined to go with Ozzuk. Perhaps you just carry on, make sure your builder is good and commit to fixing any probs.

    As Ozzuk says, there's nothing can be done in terms of a PWA after the work has taken place. They'd have to go to court to make you rectify anything, but again, perhaps it's best to be neighbourly if and when you need to and fix whatever you need to if it's highlighted. You can show that you made effort to locate the owner.

    How much work affects the party wall? The same as the other side already agreed? Major?
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    • Benspaghetti1
    • By Benspaghetti1 11th Jul 17, 5:33 PM
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    Benspaghetti1
    • #5
    • 11th Jul 17, 5:33 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Jul 17, 5:33 PM
    Hi all, thank you for your swift responses - interesting indeed.

    @doozergirl - the new staircase will be fitted on that side but neither our architect nor builders believe that they will need access to next door. We have 9 inch thick brick (it's a solid 30's house) and we would need to fit a new steel support which would cut into this wall by 10cm (approx 4 inches)
    • Rosemary7391
    • By Rosemary7391 11th Jul 17, 7:14 PM
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    Rosemary7391
    • #6
    • 11th Jul 17, 7:14 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Jul 17, 7:14 PM
    If you do want to get hold of whoever is responsible for the house next door, you could write a letter addressed to the executors of the neighbour's estate and post it via royal mail, it might get picked up by any redirection they've set up. Or if they're picking up mail periodically it'll get collected then. Alternatively see if it's listed for sale on rightmove or anything like that?
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    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Jul 17, 7:42 PM
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    Doozergirl
    • #7
    • 11th Jul 17, 7:42 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Jul 17, 7:42 PM
    If a neighbour is fine with the work then you don't have to have a PWA. It is a great deal of expense and a large element of it is common sense.

    I have to say that there is only a certain distance I would go if there is no one to care enough about next door to leave some info with neighbours about who can be contacted.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
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