Knocking down semi-detached house - is it possible?

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I live in a semi-detached house. Next to my neighbours house (other part of the semi-detached) is a MOT garage. 

We recently got a letter from a property developer that they have purchased the MOT garage & would like to buy mine & my neighbour’s houses - to expand on their project. 

My neighbour is considering this offer but I do not want to sell. This is our childhood home, with a lot of sentimental value. Would it be possible for the developers to knock down their house & keep mine intact? 

& also, do I have any “rights” in possibly asking them not to build their project (apartments I assume) too close to my property? I am not too keen on having apartments right next to my house, I wouldn’t mind if there’s a small sizeable gap etc 

Any comments or advice would be appreciated!
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  • thuyoongi_
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    Section62 said:

    Would it be possible for the developers to knock down their house & keep mine intact?
    Yes, but it would impose limits on what development they can do and increase the cost of their project.  Buying you out has greater benefit to them than just simply acquiring the additional land.
    also, do I have any “rights” in possibly asking them not to build their project (apartments I assume) too close to my property? I am not too keen on having apartments right next to my house, I wouldn’t mind if there’s a small sizeable gap etc
    You can ask, but they don't have to agree.

    The bigger issue you have is if they demolish the other half of the buliding then the developer will need to convert your currently interior party wall into an external wall.  Legislation will protect your interests if the need arises.  Building back with a structure in contact with your house would be better in some respects from the developer's POV.

    Your rights here - other than party wall issues - would be to object to the planning consent application.  The planning authority will need to consider your objection, but they won't necessarily agree with you.

    Given all the noise and disruption during the project, and the possible reduction in value of your property being only half of an ex-semi, I would seriously consider any sensible offer the developer makes to buy you out.
    Thank you for your response, very helpful! 

    Selling is not an option for me/us because most of my family (who live in the house) are against this - they don’t mind the noise and disruption of the construction site & all the other cons 

    The developer did mention that their main aim is to purchase my house because then they’ll be able to build “upwards”. I believe she said that mine & my neighbour’s houses are preventing them from building further up due to some privacy laws (or something along those lines). She did imply that if my neighbour agrees to sell & I don’t, they will probably not pursue the purchases as this will block their plans on building “up”. I’m just not entirely sure how truthful this was
  • thuyoongi_
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    shiraz99 said:
    I dare say their plans are rather contingent on you selling your house to them so they may not continue with any development if you chose not to. Also, any building such as this would require full planning permission so your "rights" would be as any others in that you'll have an opportunity to object based on relevant grounds.
    Thank you for your response, very helpful :)

    The developer did say that their main aim is to buy my house so they can build higher “up” & they will probably not pursue the purchase if I don’t agree to sell. I’m not entirely sure how truthful she was
  • Grenage
    Grenage Posts: 2,900 Forumite
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    shiraz99 said:
    I dare say their plans are rather contingent on you selling your house to them so they may not continue with any development if you chose not to. Also, any building such as this would require full planning permission so your "rights" would be as any others in that you'll have an opportunity to object based on relevant grounds.
    Thank you for your response, very helpful :)

    The developer did say that their main aim is to buy my house so they can build higher “up” & they will probably not pursue the purchase if I don’t agree to sell. I’m not entirely sure how truthful she was

    It's quite likely the truth, which is good for you and your desires.
  • Bendy_House
    Bendy_House Posts: 4,756 Forumite
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    edited 20 May 2022 at 4:13PM
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    Their comments re not being able to build up make sense, so it does look as tho' you could scupper their plans should you not sell. At least, their preferred plans.

    Your neighb seems fairly keen to sell up, so you'll be scuppering their plans too, although they can sell up any time they want to.

    I wonder, tho', how the amount they are willing to offer you and your neighb compares with your house's current market value? I'd imagine surely more, but how much more? Are you certain this isn't a good opportunity for you and your family to move 'up'?


  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,895 Forumite
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    She did imply that if my neighbour agrees to sell & I don’t, they will probably not pursue the purchases as this will block their plans on building “up”. I’m just not entirely sure how truthful this was
    It makes sense, but rather than 'privacy laws' the reason is probably that the planners would regard a taller building next to a pair of semis as 'overbearing', or that the neighbours would be excessively overlooked.

    What will happen to the MOT garage if this development doesn't happen?  Will it remain a garage?  Having a garage as a near-neighbour can be offputting to potential purchasers, so you may find some locals will be happy with the garage going and being replaced with flats/apartments as it could be indirectly financially beneficial to them.

    Is the MOT garage one which has been an established garage for a length of time, or is it more of a MOT facility in a light industrial unit?  I ask, because old-style garages, especially those which formerly sold fuel, usually require expensive remediation of the land before it can be used for housing/redevelopment.  Therefore one possibility is that the garage site alone is not a viable development opportunity because the cost of remediation is excessive for the number of dwelling units they can build on the site.  Spreading the development onto adjacent (and 'cheaper') land and going upwards may be necessary to bring the land cost/unit down to an affordable level.

    In other words... your family members need to be thinking about what might happen if the land isn't redeveloped for housing, given that its current use class could allow conversion to various other operations that don't make good neighbours.
  • Woolsery
    Woolsery Posts: 1,535 Forumite
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    Section62 said:

    She did imply that if my neighbour agrees to sell & I don’t, they will probably not pursue the purchases as this will block their plans on building “up”. I’m just not entirely sure how truthful this was
    In other words... your family members need to be thinking about what might happen if the land isn't redeveloped for housing, given that its current use class could allow conversion to various other operations that don't make good neighbours.
    It could also be something better. The pig barn next to me now acts as a storage facility for thatching reed and a builder keeps his ladders, mixer, trailer etc there. Thatching reed is very quiet and doesn't smell.
    I think the OP might need examples of what businesses could set up next door. An MoT/tyre garage can be pretty noisy, especially if they like Radio 1!

  • Woolsery
    Woolsery Posts: 1,535 Forumite
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    I wonder, tho', how the amount they are willing to offer you and your neighb compares with your house's current market value? I'd imagine surely more, but how much more? Are you certain this isn't a good opportunity for you and your family to move 'up'
    Not everyone wants to move 'up.' In about 1979 young Japanese neighbours moved in across the road from me. I'd guess they paid about £12-15k for the house. They're still there. The house has had a small loft conversion, but it remains basically a smallish 3 bed terrace. Current value is north of £500k.
    It was a while ago now, but I asked these people why they'd stayed when so many of us had moved away because of parking issues and justwanting more space. They replied that the house is big enough, and with low outgoings they could afford to visit  Japan pretty much when they wanted, also knowing neighbours would keep an eye on the place.

  • Bendy_House
    Bendy_House Posts: 4,756 Forumite
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    Fair do's, but by 'up' I don't necessarily mean bigger, but just the opportunity to perhaps have 'detached' and not be adjacent to a garage or a building plot. More 'sideways'... :smile:
    A very rare chance to get more than the market value for their current place.
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