Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Cee_Kaybe
    • By Cee_Kaybe 30th Nov 17, 6:02 PM
    • 4Posts
    • 2Thanks
    Cee_Kaybe
    buying house - neighbour in middle of extension - no party wall agreement
    • #1
    • 30th Nov 17, 6:02 PM
    buying house - neighbour in middle of extension - no party wall agreement 30th Nov 17 at 6:02 PM
    Short version
    > Offer accepted on 1930's terrace
    > Neighbour has since started work on extension along party wall.
    > No party wall notification was sent or agreement in place
    > Mortgage is now in limbo.

    Long version
    We had an offer accepted for a 1930's terrace house. We're in Bristol and it's exactly what we're looking for and in a great location (i.e. dream house). Our solicitor pointed out that the neighbour had planing permission (in 2105) for an extension out the back. She said they would need to send a Party Wall notification before starting work. The seller confirmed they had not yet done this and our solicitor highlighted this to the bank ...but it was not an issue at that point.

    The mortgage is with HSBC and they approved our mortgage and then sent their surveyor to do a valuation. The neighbour started the extension before they surveyor visited and the surveyor valued the property fine but highlighted that the buyers (us) should check any party wall agreement. HSBC then said they were happy to progress but our solicitor pressed them for confirmation they were happy to lend without a party wall agreement in place.

    Now we are stuck.

    On the surface, it feels like no one can decide who should advise on how (or whether) things should progress. Our solicitor can't advise as it's a structural matter, the bank's surveyor won't advise because they don't know what the extension plans are and so it's with the bank, where it's been for the last 1.5 weeks. They keep saying someone is looking at it but then nothing happens. Our broker keeps chasing it up but is getting no commitment from the bank on when they'll respond.

    The extension is being done so it's a couple of inches away from the actual party wall so apparently no one thought it needed an agreement. A quick read of the act shows one is needed. Oddly enough, the part of 'our' house they are extending next to is an old outside toilet connected to the back of the house. We're planning on extending ourselves and so will be knocking this down anyway.

    Does anyone have any idea of how this is likely to play out or what anyone can do to help things move?
Page 1
    • Jox
    • By Jox 30th Nov 17, 6:04 PM
    • 1,253 Posts
    • 2,705 Thanks
    Jox
    • #2
    • 30th Nov 17, 6:04 PM
    • #2
    • 30th Nov 17, 6:04 PM
    Can the seller sort this out or they lose their buyer?
    • Cee_Kaybe
    • By Cee_Kaybe 30th Nov 17, 6:10 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Cee_Kaybe
    • #3
    • 30th Nov 17, 6:10 PM
    • #3
    • 30th Nov 17, 6:10 PM
    Can the seller sort this out or they lose their buyer?
    Originally posted by Jox
    The seller is happy to do 'whatever is required' but you can't do a retrospective party wall notification/ agreement and no one (solicitor/ bank / surveyor) is providing any suggestion what should be done.
    • Jox
    • By Jox 30th Nov 17, 6:14 PM
    • 1,253 Posts
    • 2,705 Thanks
    Jox
    • #4
    • 30th Nov 17, 6:14 PM
    • #4
    • 30th Nov 17, 6:14 PM
    Any indemnities the solicitor can suggest?
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 30th Nov 17, 7:57 PM
    • 10,026 Posts
    • 8,080 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    • #5
    • 30th Nov 17, 7:57 PM
    • #5
    • 30th Nov 17, 7:57 PM
    The neighbour has been unwise in not getting a PWA in place. They can be liable for any damage to neighbouring property and a neighbour so affected by the work can obtain an injunction stopping the work.
    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 30th Nov 17, 8:52 PM
    • 2,630 Posts
    • 2,934 Thanks
    glasgowdan
    • #6
    • 30th Nov 17, 8:52 PM
    • #6
    • 30th Nov 17, 8:52 PM
    If it's beside a toilet block you're going to knock down anyway I would be doing my best to progress and brush it under the carpet, if it were me.
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 30th Nov 17, 9:05 PM
    • 1,034 Posts
    • 733 Thanks
    teneighty
    • #7
    • 30th Nov 17, 9:05 PM
    • #7
    • 30th Nov 17, 9:05 PM
    The extension is being done so it's a couple of inches away from the actual party wall so apparently no one thought it needed an agreement. A quick read of the act shows one is needed. Oddly enough, the part of 'our' house they are extending next to is an old outside toilet connected to the back of the house. We're planning on extending ourselves and so will be knocking this down anyway.
    Originally posted by Cee_Kaybe
    So I can only assume the Party Wall Act applies as the new excavations are within 3 metres and deeper than existing?

    I assume the foundations have already been finished so there is nothing that can be done now under the PWA. As glasgowdan said if you intend to demolish your outbuilding and build a new extension yourself you should try to gloss over this as it is a non-issue.

    If the neighbour had done everything by the book and served notice and your vendor had simply consented with no surveyors being appointed and no party wall award you would be in almost exactly the same position.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 30th Nov 17, 9:12 PM
    • 24,040 Posts
    • 66,614 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #8
    • 30th Nov 17, 9:12 PM
    • #8
    • 30th Nov 17, 9:12 PM
    The neighbour has been unwise in not getting a PWA in place. They can be liable for any damage to neighbouring property and a neighbour so affected by the work can obtain an injunction stopping the work.
    Originally posted by lincroft1710
    The neighbour is responsible for any damage caused *regardless* of whether a party wall agreement or award is in place.

    An affected neighbour could go for an injunction, but in the case where this isn’t building a new party wall, only building foundations adjacent to the party wall, the injunction could only stop the building of the foundation. On the average house extension, that could be completed in two days. Far, far earlier than any injunction could be obtained.

    Once the foundations are in then the PWAct is pointless. Any agreement or award is not required any more. It isn’t a ‘lasting’ document, it is relevant only to agree the method of work and prior condition.

    OP, lots of conveyancing professionals will not be clued up on the Party Wall Act because it is almost irrelevant to house buying. You’re pretty unlucky to be purchasing during a neighbouring extension build. The surveyor has written it in and they’re probably now following blindly.

    Fact is, your vendor could have been served notice and simply agreed to the work without a PWAward. They could have very simply ‘agreed’ forming an Agreement. There is no legal requirement to have a formal Party Wall Award, only to serve the notice!

    If the building affected by the PWAct is this outbuilding which you intend to knock down, then I suggest you inform the mortgage company that any PW Award or Agreement is wholely irrelevant as you fully intend to demolish the only part of your building where the PWAct applied anyway. The surveyor could then apply a valuation without the outbuilding included.

    Perhaps you could speak to the surveyor first. Was this a valuation survey or did you pay for further depth?
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 30-11-2017 at 9:16 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 30th Nov 17, 9:13 PM
    • 24,040 Posts
    • 66,614 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #9
    • 30th Nov 17, 9:13 PM
    • #9
    • 30th Nov 17, 9:13 PM
    Cross posts with teneighty who managed to say the same as me with less words
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 30th Nov 17, 9:14 PM
    • 3,261 Posts
    • 4,528 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    The seller is happy to do 'whatever is required' but you can't do a retrospective party wall notification/ agreement and no one (solicitor/ bank / surveyor) is providing any suggestion what should be done.
    Originally posted by Cee_Kaybe
    The seller needs to get onto their solicitor and find a solution. I don't think you can because it isn't your wall yet.
    • Cee_Kaybe
    • By Cee_Kaybe 5th Dec 17, 10:33 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Cee_Kaybe
    Thanks for all the great responses. The bank finally replied that they are happy to progress as they see this as a low risk situation.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

368Posts Today

1,850Users online

Martin's Twitter