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  • FIRST POST
    • calopez1
    • By calopez1 9th Jan 18, 3:12 PM
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    calopez1
    Neighbours' Extension Might Block Vents
    • #1
    • 9th Jan 18, 3:12 PM
    Neighbours' Extension Might Block Vents 9th Jan 18 at 3:12 PM
    Our semi-detached house has a wrap-around side extension containing (from the front) a garage, shower room, and kitchen. It was built around 1990, before we moved in. It goes up to the boundary line with our neighbours; on the other side of it is part of their front garden, driveway, and side access.

    There are vents from the kitchen and shower room extractor fans on the boundary wall of our extension. Shortly after we moved in, around 15 years ago, we installed a new boiler in the garage, and that added a further vent to the boundary wall, which sticks out probably less than six inches and is over 6 feet from the ground. I obtained the verbal agreement of our then neighbour for this – and I presume their permission was also granted for the other vents.

    Since then, as far as I am aware, the vents have not caused any problems – they’re all quite small and some way from our neighbours’ house. The house itself has changed hands a couple of times, and the current owners rent it out. In that time, no-one has questioned the positioning of the vents.

    However, about a year ago, the current owners obtained planning permission for a two-storey side extension, and I have just received notice that they intend to commence construction. The problem is that their extension will come right up to our own extension, and potentially block the vents.
    Can they do that? Can they force us to move the vents (unlikely to be easy or cheap) at our expense?

    Their surveyor has written to us to serve the party wall notice. Is it a good idea to agree to their surveyor being appointed as the ‘agreed surveyor’ or would it be better to find our own? (When the planning permission was granted, we received several letters from surveyors touting for business!)

    Apologies for the long post, but I wanted to try to explain the situation as best I can. Thanks to anyone who reads it all, and many thanks in advance for any advice!
Page 1
    • lwhiteman88
    • By lwhiteman88 9th Jan 18, 4:16 PM
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    lwhiteman88
    • #2
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:16 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:16 PM
    If this was me I would agree to having the agreed surveyor. Party Wall Surveyors would be obliged to act on behalf of both your interests. It would also save your neighbour a considerable amount of money. If you want your own they have to pay for this and then a third surveyor to check it all. So the cost would be around 3X for more than likely the same outcome.

    Regarding exactly what they are entitled to do. I believe they can build their extension without concern to your vents. You are allowed to do what you want to your wall but you dont own the air beyond it. Your neighbours should also not be penalised for your error of pointing the vent into their land without a formal agreement to do so.

    Again I am not certain on this as I dont always get eyes on what actually gets agreed but I believe it would be at your cost if you dont want your vents blocked!
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 9th Jan 18, 4:21 PM
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    Aylesbury Duck
    • #3
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:21 PM
    • #3
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:21 PM
    I agree with lwhiteman88. The likely outcome is that you will have to find some way of re-routing the vents at your own cost and organisation. A nuisance, but at the moment you are venting your extraction into someone else's land and have been fortunate to have been able to do so for as long as you have.
    • Mossfarr
    • By Mossfarr 9th Jan 18, 4:30 PM
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    Mossfarr
    • #4
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:30 PM
    • #4
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:30 PM
    Did you speak to the local Planning dept when you received notification of the Planning application?
    We were in the same situation with our side extension (only the gutters overhang - no vents or outlet pipes). We built right up to the boundary 20+ years ago with our neighbours agreement- but nothing in writing). Last year our neighbours applied for PP to build right up to our wall but their initial plans were refused, they had to amend their plans to leave at least 1 metre gap between the properties as it would have changed the 'semi detached' status to 'terraced'.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 9th Jan 18, 4:34 PM
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    Doozergirl
    • #5
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:34 PM
    • #5
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:34 PM
    I am confident that the party wall surveyor would act on both your behalf come up with what is fair, so I would not deliberately employ another surveyor.

    From my experience of PWS from being on the extension builder!!!8217;s side of proceedings, you!!!8217;d never guess it was them paying their own PWS. They have no interest in keeping costs down. it!!!8217;s a license to print money if you can get past the fact that it!!!8217;s the most tedious job in the world and no one likes you. If had to choose between being a PWS and a traffic warden, I think I!!!8217;d be a traffic warden. It would be les boring.

    Venting onto your neighbours land is not good practice for exactly these reasons. You may well think it!!!8217;s unfair, and I can undersrand that, but you cannot stop your neighbour from building on their own land. You and your predecessors really should have treated the wall as what it is - a party structure. You benefit from having an extension right to the boundary. You wouldn!!!8217;t pump your boiler vent into the other half of a semi; just because they had no extension, it doesn!!!8217;t mean that you could essentially claim land whilst using their airspace.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 09-01-2018 at 4:40 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 9th Jan 18, 4:38 PM
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    Doozergirl
    • #6
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:38 PM
    • #6
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:38 PM
    Did you speak to the local Planning dept when you received notification of the Planning application?
    We were in the same situation with our side extension (only the gutters overhang - no vents or outlet pipes). We built right up to the boundary 20+ years ago with our neighbours agreement- but nothing in writing). Last year our neighbours applied for PP to build right up to our wall but their initial plans were refused, they had to amend their plans to leave at least 1 metre gap between the properties as it would have changed the 'semi detached' status to 'terraced'.
    Originally posted by Mossfarr
    I!!!8217;d suggest that yours would also have been rejected under many LA!!!8217;s planning guidance if you applied now. It would be the same rule for everyone, not the ones who got there second.

    That 1 metre rule is certainly in place where I live. I think they sometimes allow ground floor attachment if it is set back from the main elevation, as long as the second storey is well detached.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 9th Jan 18, 4:49 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    • #7
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:49 PM
    • #7
    • 9th Jan 18, 4:49 PM

    There are vents from the kitchen and shower room extractor fans on the boundary wall of our extension. Shortly after we moved in, around 15 years ago, we installed a new boiler in the garage, and that added a further vent to the boundary wall, which sticks out probably less than six inches and is over 6 feet from the ground. I obtained the verbal agreement of our then neighbour for this !!!8211; and I presume their permission was also granted for the other vents. .................................................. .

    The problem is that their extension will come right up to our own extension, and potentially block the vents.
    Can they do that? Can they force us to move the vents (unlikely to be easy or cheap) at our expense?
    Originally posted by calopez1
    I'm reading that as one of your vents sticks out 6" into the neighbours airspace and "presume their permission" was also granted for the other vents as wondering whether permission was specifically requested for each and every vent in their airspace.

    Do you have a photograph showing whether your airvents are projecting into their airspace or no?

    If they are only in your own airspace - then I cant see how there can be a problem.

    If any of them are in their airspace = HUH???? Why? Didnt you realise its their airspace and they own it? The law states that people own their own airspace above their own properties up to a certain height (basically the height of a very tall tree).
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 09-01-2018 at 4:52 PM.
    Living in a part of Britain where one has to "look over shoulder" before you speak...eek:
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 9th Jan 18, 5:00 PM
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    Aylesbury Duck
    • #8
    • 9th Jan 18, 5:00 PM
    • #8
    • 9th Jan 18, 5:00 PM
    If any of them are in their airspace = HUH???? Why? Didnt you realise its their airspace and they own it? The law states that people own their own airspace above their own properties up to a certain height (basically the height of a very tall tree).
    In fairness to the OP, their account suggests they only added the boiler vent. The others were there when they moved in. I read it that the vents are on the wall that's on the boundary, so the two older vents are on the OP's property but extract into the neighbour's land (air) and the newer one actually crosses the boundary itself and vents into the neighbour's land (air).

    If the neighbour's extension is approved to be built up against the OP's wall, the vents will be blocked and the OP will have to internally re-route their extraction to an exit point on their own land.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 9th Jan 18, 5:52 PM
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    Doozergirl
    • #9
    • 9th Jan 18, 5:52 PM
    • #9
    • 9th Jan 18, 5:52 PM
    This thread is in the wrong board. It should be on In My Home.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 9th Jan 18, 6:03 PM
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    silvercar
    This thread is in the wrong board. It should be on In My Home.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    Finding a solution to misplaced vents may be better placed on the In My Home Board, but the initial question was about planning issues so is rightfully placed here.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debate House Prices & the Economy, House Buying, Renting & Selling, Mortgages and Endowments, In My Home incl DIY, Overseas Holidays & Student boards.
    I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly.
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    • armchaireconomist
    • By armchaireconomist 9th Jan 18, 6:04 PM
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    armchaireconomist
    You shouldn't have been extracting onto neighbours land anyway, so the onus is on you i'm afraid. Neighbour should have put his foot down when extension was constructed, admittedly, but you can't stop him building on his land. Do the decent thing and move them.
    • calopez1
    • By calopez1 9th Jan 18, 6:25 PM
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    calopez1
    Thanks all for your replies, even if they're not good news as far as we're concerned! With hindsight, I would have done things differently fifteen years ago but, to be honest, it never occurred to me at the time that it was wrong or that it would cause any problems in the future.
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 9th Jan 18, 6:38 PM
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    Aylesbury Duck
    It may not be too difficult to reroute your kitchen extraction if the kitchen is on the back of your extension. It could come out of the back wall? I assume the shower room is in the middle of the extension with only the party wall to the outside? That will prove tricky unless you can come out through the ceiling and loft to the soffits at the front or rear and that would require a powerful fan to propel the air a longer distance. The trickiest one will be the boiler which presumably will have to be relocated.
    • calopez1
    • By calopez1 9th Jan 18, 7:21 PM
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    calopez1
    It may not be too difficult to reroute your kitchen extraction if the kitchen is on the back of your extension. It could come out of the back wall? I assume the shower room is in the middle of the extension with only the party wall to the outside? That will prove tricky unless you can come out through the ceiling and loft to the soffits at the front or rear and that would require a powerful fan to propel the air a longer distance. The trickiest one will be the boiler which presumably will have to be relocated.
    Originally posted by Aylesbury Duck
    Our extension is single-storey with a flat roof. I'm hoping it will be possible to take the boiler flue vertically through it - there certainly appears to be provision for a top flue in the boiler casing. The boiler is the one I'm most worried about.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 9th Jan 18, 7:44 PM
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    Davesnave
    Our extension is single-storey with a flat roof. I'm hoping it will be possible to take the boiler flue vertically through it -.
    Originally posted by calopez1
    Unlikely to be a problem, though if it's 15 years old, there might be a case for renewal anyway.

    We had a case last year where someone acquired a prescriptive right to a flue outlet over a neighbouring property, but to do that, 20 years of unopposed use is needed.

    In your case, the neighbour gave permission, so I don't think prescriptive rights would apply, as they operate like adverse possession.
    If you are finding huge gaps between your paragraphs and use Firefox, MSE know about the problem. However, they aren't necessarily doing anything about it yet....
    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5844460
    • calopez1
    • By calopez1 9th Jan 18, 11:07 PM
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    calopez1
    Unlikely to be a problem, though if it's 15 years old, there might be a case for renewal anyway.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    Thanks, that's quite reassuring. The boiler may be old, but it continues (touch wood!) to give excellent service, with only one minor problem in all that time.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 10th Jan 18, 7:31 AM
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    Doozergirl
    I!!!8217;d have a little think about how you!!!8217;d feel if the shoe was on the other foot

    Could these things not just be vented up instead of out?
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • lwhiteman88
    • By lwhiteman88 10th Jan 18, 9:41 AM
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    lwhiteman88
    Our extension is single-storey with a flat roof. I'm hoping it will be possible to take the boiler flue vertically through it - there certainly appears to be provision for a top flue in the boiler casing. The boiler is the one I'm most worried about.
    Originally posted by calopez1
    This should be fine. There are plenty of proprietary products out there for this. I would just ensure you speak to a roofer as well as a gas engineer. Penetrating through the roof will require some making good of the roof membrane. Traditionally the boiler flue would be installed first with the membrane then being lapped over and up the flue flashing.

    Here is one I found with a quick search:
    https://www.screwfix.com/p/worcester-bosch-vertical-flue-kit-60-100mm/73895?tc=LT2&ds_rl=1249799&ds_rl=1245250&ds_rl=124 9481&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsJzj_YvN2AIVq7_tCh02bwarEAQ YASABEgK-4_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CICj7YCMzdgCFcES0wodLPc NAQ

    With the kitchen extract you could always get a recirculating hood to avoid extracting to the outside. You can't get these for bathrooms however.
    • calopez1
    • By calopez1 10th Jan 18, 10:13 AM
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    calopez1
    I’d have a little think about how you’d feel if the shoe was on the other foot :(

    Could these things not just be vented up instead of out?
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    Had the shoe been on the other foot fifteen years ago, I wouldn't have had a problem with the vents, as indeed my neighbour at the time didn't, given their positioning.

    And had the shoe been on the other foot fifteen years later, I would have been inclined to have had an informal chat with my neighbour when I was thinking about an extension, just to see what issues might potentially arise.

    Upwards venting is likely to be the solution. Had I known then what I know now, that's what I would have gone for with the boiler flue. But it's easy to be wise after the event.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 10th Jan 18, 12:03 PM
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    Doozergirl
    Had the shoe been on the other foot fifteen years ago, I wouldn't have had a problem with the vents, as indeed my neighbour at the time didn't, given their positioning.

    And had the shoe been on the other foot fifteen years later, I would have been inclined to have had an informal chat with my neighbour when I was thinking about an extension, just to see what issues might potentially arise.

    Upwards venting is likely to be the solution. Had I known then what I know now, that's what I would have gone for with the boiler flue. But it's easy to be wise after the event.
    Originally posted by calopez1
    Well, the point at which they spoke to you doesn’t actually change the issue in hand and you didn’t exactly do the right thing 15 years ago either, so I am sure you can forgive them.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
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