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    • Kesteral
    • By Kesteral 10th Mar 18, 12:36 PM
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    Kesteral
    House missold in regard to neighbours extension
    • #1
    • 10th Mar 18, 12:36 PM
    House missold in regard to neighbours extension 10th Mar 18 at 12:36 PM
    Hi,

    We bought a house in October and were informed before purchasing that the neighbours had planning permission for a 1st floor extension at the back to increase the length of their bedroom by 1 metre. The plans showed that the extension would be on the boundary line between our properties so we asked explicitly during the purchase process whether this was accurate.

    We received e-mails and signed documentation from the previous owners (through the estate agent/solicitors) saying that the neighbour would not build the extension astride the boundary line and that it would be built up to the boundary line instead. It was also confirmed no party wall agreement had been signed. We were happy with this and continued on with the purchase

    Fast forward to now and the neighbour has a builder who's started on the extension. When we got home one evening we noticed that the wall they've started building is astride the boundary. We questioned this the next morning by going round and asking. He and the builder (who was also there) were very understanding, but our neighbour told us that he made it fully aware to the previous owner what his intentions were and sat down with them and the architect to go through the drawings/plans in detail over a year ago.

    As a side note, it seems like the reason they are building astride the boundary is due to the foundation beneath it.

    The neighbour has asked us to have a think about what we want to do before they continue any work. Now I need to think about our options.

    Should we contact the estate agent/solicitors and say that the house has been missold to us and we want compensation? I do think there's a chance this could hurt the valuation when it comes to reselling in the future.

    We don't want to fall out with our current neighbours as they've been very nice and haven't done anything wrong, apart from not getting us sign a party wall agreement before the work started, but at the same time I'm not comfortable with this after going through all of the hassle to have it previously confirmed that they weren't building astride the boundary. I don't want to lose out here.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Page 1
    • glentoran99
    • By glentoran99 10th Mar 18, 12:40 PM
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    glentoran99
    • #2
    • 10th Mar 18, 12:40 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Mar 18, 12:40 PM
    I may be wrong here but solictors/estate agents can only act on what they are told, wouldn't your case be against the former owners if they knowingly supplied incorrect information
    • ashe
    • By ashe 10th Mar 18, 12:49 PM
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    ashe
    • #3
    • 10th Mar 18, 12:49 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Mar 18, 12:49 PM
    Surely if there was planning permission in place, and you saw the plans and were told otherwise, you would have asked to see corrected plans?
    • Kesteral
    • By Kesteral 10th Mar 18, 1:00 PM
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    Kesteral
    • #4
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:00 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:00 PM
    It doesn't matter to me necessarily whether it's the estate agent/solicitor or the previous owners. I'm just not sure where I should start and whether I have a case.

    Ashe it was very difficult at the time to get any answers from the previous owners about the neighbours extension plans. Asking them to get the neighbour to correct the plans would have required getting an architect to redraw them or the neighbours to change it which may have had an impact on planning permission. Either way this could have taken months, would have been rejected and would have meant we'd have lost the house.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 10th Mar 18, 1:09 PM
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    silvercar
    • #5
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:09 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:09 PM
    At the very least you want a party wall agreement drawn up.

    Your neighbours should have known this from the outset.
    • glentoran99
    • By glentoran99 10th Mar 18, 1:10 PM
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    glentoran99
    • #6
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:10 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:10 PM
    It doesn't matter to me necessarily whether it's the estate agent/solicitor or the previous owners. I'm just not sure where I should start and whether I have a case. .
    Originally posted by Kesteral

    it may make a difference as to the likelihood of getting paid, if you do have a case and win

    Ashe it was very difficult at the time to get any answers from the previous owners about the neighbours extension plans. Asking them to get the neighbour to correct the plans would have required getting an architect to redraw them or the neighbours to change it which may have had an impact on planning permission. Either way this could have taken months, would have been rejected and would have meant we'd have lost the house.
    Originally posted by Kesteral

    So they don't actually have planning permission for what they are building as it doesn't match the plans?
    • Kesteral
    • By Kesteral 10th Mar 18, 1:20 PM
    • 11 Posts
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    Kesteral
    • #7
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:20 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:20 PM
    it may make a difference as to the likelihood of getting paid, if you do have a case and win
    Originally posted by glentoran99
    How so out of curiosity?

    So they don't actually have planning permission for what they are building as it doesn't match the plans?
    Originally posted by glentoran99
    They do, the plans match what they're building, its just the previous owners told us they confirmed with the neighbour that the wall was going up to the boundary line, not astride it. It's one of the conditions of our purchase as I mentioned.

    It's only a difference of a few inches between up the wall being up to the boundary line and on it so I didn't think we needed new plans for that, just confirmation from the previous owners/neighbours.
    • the_r_sole
    • By the_r_sole 10th Mar 18, 1:27 PM
    • 2,522 Posts
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    the_r_sole
    • #8
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:27 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:27 PM
    If they are building what they have planning permission for and you have seen the plans showing exactly what they are building before you bought your house, it doesn't really make sense that you've then asked a third party with no say on the plans to confirm something not shown on the plans!
    Too late for party wall surveyors now the work has started so it's now down to you about how bad you want your relationship with the neighbours to be...
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 10th Mar 18, 1:27 PM
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    Tom99
    • #9
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:27 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Mar 18, 1:27 PM
    What is the outcome that you want to achieve?

    Whether or not they have planning consent to straddle the boundary they still need your explicit consent, as current owner, to do so, that is unless they had some sort of contractual agreement with the previous owner which in some way bound subsequent owners.

    I would not be too gentle on your neighbour and I suspect they deliberately did not discuss the matter with you, the new owner, hoping you will just roll over and believe their story when they started to build.
    • Asl77c
    • By Asl77c 10th Mar 18, 1:35 PM
    • 78 Posts
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    Asl77c
    If you have signed documentation surely someone from the previous owners etc and you are just going on the word of the neighbours it is upto you who you trust, sounds like someone has told porkies at some point and in all honesty I'd put it down to your neighbour if i was a betting man, being that your previous owners have actually signed something to say about the agreement and you are just hearing 2nd hand verbally what may or may not have been said between the 2 previous neighbours.
    • Kesteral
    • By Kesteral 10th Mar 18, 1:48 PM
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    Kesteral
    The ideal outcome really is for the neighbour to build within their own boundary. But what that means is they would need to knock down the wall they've started building and think of some way to build within the boundary. As I mentioned, the foundations are underneath where they're building now. I do not expect this will go down well with them, although they have at least discussed how it could work. I don't know where that cost would go.

    We are also very frustrated with the previous owners and I think we should consider getting compensation for this. Despite some of you mentioning that we saw the plans and that should be enough, these things aren't always completely accurate which is why we asked for further details. Obviously these details were not correct.

    Another thing to mention is we asked whether we could meet the neighbours before purchasing the property to discuss the extension plans and we were told by the estate agent/previous owners that we couldn't. I'm not sure why, but they promised they'd get the answers themselves.

    Even so, I'm not sure we could force the neighbours at that time to put something in writing, our contract was always with the previous owners, not the neighbours.
    • LittleMax
    • By LittleMax 10th Mar 18, 2:05 PM
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    LittleMax
    We received e-mails and signed documentation from the previous owners (through the estate agent/solicitors) saying that the neighbour would not build the extension astride the boundary line and that it would be built up to the boundary line instead. It was also confirmed no party wall agreement had been signed. We were happy with this and continued on with the purchase
    Originally posted by Kesteral
    So you knew about Party Wall Areements when you purchased. Why did you proceed without a Party Wall Notice? Under section 1 of the Party Wall Act even building up to the boundary requires this.

    He and the builder (who was also there) were very understanding, but our neighbour told us that he made it fully aware to the previous owner what his intentions were and sat down with them and the architect to go through the drawings/plans in detail over a year ago.
    Originally posted by Kesteral
    He may well have done but this doesn't meant the neighbour agreed to him building astride the boundary and does not negate the requirement to serve a notice. Did he serve a notice and when? Did the neighbour respond? He can go ahead and build up to the boundary without response but not astride the boundary.

    The neighbour has asked us to have a think about what we want to do before they continue any work. Now I need to think about our options.
    Originally posted by Kesteral
    You seem to be limiting your options to claiming against others for what has happened. This hasn't yet happened and you have the right to say no to it happening. Tell him you are refusing... unless you are happy for him to proceed. But you can't agree to it because he is a nice man and then try to claim compensation from others because it wasn't stopped. You have the power to stop it.

    We don't want to fall out with our current neighbours as they've been very nice and haven't done anything wrong, apart from not getting us sign a party wall agreement before the work started
    Originally posted by Kesteral
    Apart from not serving section 1 notice - that is quite a lot to do wrong. Probably why they are being 'very nice' about it!
    Last edited by LittleMax; 10-03-2018 at 2:08 PM.
    • LittleMax
    • By LittleMax 10th Mar 18, 2:11 PM
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    LittleMax

    Another thing to mention is we asked whether we could meet the neighbours before purchasing the property to discuss the extension plans and we were told by the estate agent/previous owners that we couldn't. I'm not sure why, but they promised they'd get the answers themselves.

    Even so, I'm not sure we could force the neighbours at that time to put something in writing, our contract was always with the previous owners, not the neighbours.
    Originally posted by Kesteral
    But you knew how to contact them - why didn't you just knock their door and speak to them? I realise it's too late now but just putting here for others. When buying a house it's always a good idea to go and speak to neighbours.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 10th Mar 18, 2:20 PM
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    00ec25
    We are also very frustrated with the previous owners and I think we should consider getting compensation for this. Despite some of you mentioning that we saw the plans and that should be enough, these things aren't always completely accurate which is why we asked for further details. Obviously these details were not correct.

    Another thing to mention is we asked whether we could meet the neighbours before purchasing the property to discuss the extension plans and we were told by the estate agent/previous owners that we couldn't. I'm not sure why, but they promised they'd get the answers themselves.

    Even so, I'm not sure we could force the neighbours at that time to put something in writing, our contract was always with the previous owners, not the neighbours.
    Originally posted by Kesteral
    ]so why didn't you knock on the neighbours door and ask them? When I buy a house I always talk to the neighbours myself

    sounds like a typical case of "someone else's fault, not mine, so gimme the compo" syndrome
    Last edited by 00ec25; 10-03-2018 at 2:23 PM.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 10th Mar 18, 2:21 PM
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    Doozergirl
    Little Max gives the correct advice. This has nothing to do with the previous owner, very little to do with the planning office and everything to do with you and the neighbours in this present moment.

    The neighbour needed to serve you the PW Notice and in order to build a party wall they need your permission. If you don't want the wall built astride the boundary, then it is up to you to refuse. That is your right. This is your house now and the extension was not built, nor any notice served before your ownership. try and blame the old owners and they'll push it straight back at you as it is your responsibility and well within your power.

    There's actually great reason to build astride the boundary as you, or future owners gets to use that wall as the wall of a future extension. While it makes the existing garden slightly smaller (15cm), it is only a continuation of the existing party wall inside your houses which you accept as given. As a result of building astride the boundary, both houses benefit from the largest possible extensions and the best building solution for the avoidance of water ingress, damp and basic maintenance. Most people have no foresight and build extensions that end up with silly gaps or the second neighbour ending up with a much smaller extension.

    If your house is attached, the best solution for both houses is for new elements to also be attached. Sensible building is better than 15cm of garden because the inevitable will happen and house 2 will be extended.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 10-03-2018 at 2:35 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 10th Mar 18, 2:30 PM
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    AdrianC
    Just to think about the practicalities and realism here...

    What are we actually talking about? How far is the centre line of the wall now from where you thought it'd be? 10cm? 15cm?
    • parkrunner
    • By parkrunner 10th Mar 18, 2:33 PM
    • 1,149 Posts
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    parkrunner
    The vendor says one thing and the neighbour says another, how do you know who's telling the truth.
    • Kesteral
    • By Kesteral 10th Mar 18, 3:07 PM
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    Kesteral
    Thank you all for the replies. I think I'm going to ask for a party wall agreement and let them continue with the extension afterwards. The main concern I have, about the lack of light (as the extension is right next to my bedroom window), won't be changed by a couple of inches.
    • glentoran99
    • By glentoran99 10th Mar 18, 3:12 PM
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    glentoran99
    How so out of curiosity?



    They do, the plans match what they're building, its just the previous owners told us they confirmed with the neighbour that the wall was going up to the boundary line, not astride it. It's one of the conditions of our purchase as I mentioned.

    It's only a difference of a few inches between up the wall being up to the boundary line and on it so I didn't think we needed new plans for that, just confirmation from the previous owners/neighbours.
    Originally posted by Kesteral


    a lot easier to get money out a company who will either A) have the money, or B) have insurances etc in place. Rather than a private individual who simply may not have the funds (or at least can make it seem that way)


    I don't understand, Surely planning permission etc is granted on exact specifications, where walls will be situated etc?
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 10th Mar 18, 3:21 PM
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    Doozergirl
    a lot easier to get money out a company who will either A) have the money, or B) have insurances etc in place. Rather than a private individual who simply may not have the funds (or at least can make it seem that way)


    I don't understand, Surely planning permission etc is granted on exact specifications, where walls will be situated etc?
    Originally posted by glentoran99
    Sort of, but not really. If they make their extension 15cm than the plans, that doesn't affect the PP as the permission is for the maximum. A slight deviation to the smaller side is never going to be to anyone else's detriment and so another application would be a waste of everyone's time and it wouldn't remove the first permission for the slightly larger extension anyway.

    The party wall issue is none of the planning department's business.

    Generally if you have more questions to ask than answer on a thread it's probably best to just pose the questions and not offer advice .
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 10-03-2018 at 3:24 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
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