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  • FIRST POST
    • confused83
    • By confused83 10th May 18, 6:15 AM
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    confused83
    Neighbours illegal work causing us major problems
    • #1
    • 10th May 18, 6:15 AM
    Neighbours illegal work causing us major problems 10th May 18 at 6:15 AM
    Has anyone successfully reported neighbours for an illegal build done about 5 years ago and not destroyed their lives?

    We have a rotting lean to garage which is on the verge of falling apart. We were due to have building work start to demolish it at the end of June. However our builder came to do more planning work and then suddenly said the job cannot go ahead because of work done by next door to their garage. The garages are attached with a party wall between them. In late 2011 they re roofed their garage, changed the garage doors for a patio door and turned it into a dining room. We did not think much of this at the time. Now it turns out that their roof is built on the party wall and the wall of our garage. This leaves us with zero options regarding our own garage. We need to build ourselves a new wall however as the existing wall is so rotten and damp and now supporting next doors roof as well when we start digging to build the foundations for the new space it is going to collapse taking next doors dining room with it. The only 'non confrontational' solution is to find twice our existing build budget to underpin and stabilise the wall and protect next doors house. We don't have this kind of money lying around.

    The builder has left us to go around to next door and ask if they want to demolish the party wall and rebuild it. Now for them it will have some benefits - ie the wall will be fully insulated so their dining room will be much warmer. However I just know the response will be to F off. Our next option will be to go to the council and ask for their assessment. The builder said hopefully they will confirm the work done is illegal (they have built flooring over drains!) and they will be forced to return the dining room to a garage and the wall should be demolished because it is in such bad condition.

    We have zero relationship with next door. Being female I cannot even say hello to them however the man next door will say hello to my husband. They also have an annoying habit of 'no english' when it comes to a conversation but I know they speak perfect english! I am sure they have the capacity to make life hell if we were to report them.

    We have to do something with the garage it is on the verge of collapse and just looks terrible. Apparently there is nothing we can do which does not involve building deep holes next to the party wall. I don't know what to do!
Page 1
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 10th May 18, 6:44 AM
    • 1,836 Posts
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    sevenhills
    • #2
    • 10th May 18, 6:44 AM
    • #2
    • 10th May 18, 6:44 AM
    We have a rotting lean to garage which is on the verge of falling apart. We were due to have building work start to demolish it at the end of June.
    Originally posted by confused83
    Don't say anything, perhaps you could request a visit to sign off your own work?

    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 10th May 18, 7:54 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #3
    • 10th May 18, 7:54 AM
    • #3
    • 10th May 18, 7:54 AM
    You need to explain this properly. How do you have a party wall and another wall for the neighbours to have built their roof over?

    Which wall is rotten? Why can't you use the party wall for your extension, which is exactly what party walls are for?

    You need a structural engineer, by the sound of it, and party wall surveyor. Your work sounds like it was always going to fall under the Party Wall Act. Your builder is wrong to say that you have zero options, but you do need the right professionals in if you cannot talk to the neighbours. I am not impressed by your builders lack of ability to signpost you in the right direction.

    If you have another wall next to the party wall (not sure why?) then they are trespassing over it with their roof. The party wall agreement should sort it out ultimately.

    If Building Control are interested, then it will be highlighted when you come to build and they inspect. Have you organised a Build Over Agreement for yourselves? Presumably if your neighbour's garage conversion is over a drain then you will be with 3 metres of the drain yourselves.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 10-05-2018 at 7:56 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • the_r_sole
    • By the_r_sole 10th May 18, 7:55 AM
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    the_r_sole
    • #4
    • 10th May 18, 7:55 AM
    • #4
    • 10th May 18, 7:55 AM
    Can you not just attach some timber bearers to the wall and build the roof off that, flashing over the top of the two?
    Even with a reasonable neighbour, I'd say it's a pretty huge ask to take down a wall of a room.
    It's hard to imagine how demolishing their wall, increasing the size of foundations then building a double skinned wall is going to be much cheaper than propping the roof and under pinning the wall.
    If the wall is damp and rotten, how is it not showing in the neighbours room?
    • fezster
    • By fezster 10th May 18, 8:41 AM
    • 288 Posts
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    fezster
    • #5
    • 10th May 18, 8:41 AM
    • #5
    • 10th May 18, 8:41 AM
    OP, your entire first post comes across as very intolerant and looking for a reason for confrontation. Admittedly, I do not know your neighbours, but have you actually tried to talk to them?

    I've tried to answer some of your questions and statements below.

    Has anyone successfully reported neighbours for an illegal build done about 5 years ago and not destroyed their lives?
    Originally posted by confused83
    Why is their build illegal? And why would it destroy your life?

    This leaves us with zero options regarding our own garage.
    You mean, your builder has left you with zero options? There are always alternative options but it doesn't sound like your builder has taken the time to explain these to you. Or perhaps the builder is incompetent?

    The only 'non confrontational' solution is to find twice our existing build budget to underpin
    Why does a conversation with your neighbour need to be confrontational?


    The builder has left us to go around to next door and ask if they want to demolish the party wall and rebuild it.
    A more constructive approach to this would be to appoint a surveyor and to then discuss your options. Why has the builder not suggested this as the first course of action?


    However I just know the response will be to F off.
    An assumption? Or are you talking from experience? How many times have you been told to F off in the past? Again, your demeanor to this entire situation seems wrong.

    Our next option will be to go to the council and ask for their assessment. The builder said hopefully they will confirm the work done is illegal
    I'm sure your builder is hopeful of this. It seems like he's adamant on having that "illegal" extension next door knocked down and his own life made easier.


    We have zero relationship with next door. Being female I cannot even say hello to them however the man next door will say hello to my husband. They also have an annoying habit of 'no english' when it comes to a conversation but I know they speak perfect english! I am sure they have the capacity to make life hell if we were to report them.
    I'm not even sure how to respond to this.

    Perhaps a change of builder followed by a change of attitude is in order.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 10th May 18, 8:46 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #6
    • 10th May 18, 8:46 AM
    • #6
    • 10th May 18, 8:46 AM
    I'm a bit worried at how underpinning doubles a build budget. Either you have a woefully inadequate build budget or your builder is inflating the cost of underpinning into the stratosphere.

    If your neighbour has converted a garage using an existing wall then there would not be a requirement to underpin an existing wall under building regulations. The requirement comes when the next door neighbour wants to build a new wall against an existing wall and it becomes obvious that by digging footings, they will undermine next door's wall. It is absolutely part of a Party Wall Agreement that the neighbour doing the invasive building works would underpin their neighbour's wall.

    The neighbour's garage wall is either their own, or it is a party wall and it is shared. Which is it?
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 10-05-2018 at 8:51 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • macman
    • By macman 10th May 18, 10:15 AM
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    macman
    • #7
    • 10th May 18, 10:15 AM
    • #7
    • 10th May 18, 10:15 AM
    How can they have 'built flooring over drains' if all they did was convert the garage to a dining room? The drain access would not have been under the garage? This implies that they extended out beyond the original garage area.
    Did they obtain planning permission for the conversion? Do the houses have any restrictive covenants that are relevant to such work?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 10th May 18, 10:23 AM
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    Gloomendoom
    • #8
    • 10th May 18, 10:23 AM
    • #8
    • 10th May 18, 10:23 AM
    I have drain access inside my house. Having it inside a garage doesn't sound that improbable to me.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. - Mark Twain
    • peachyprice
    • By peachyprice 10th May 18, 11:28 AM
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    peachyprice
    • #9
    • 10th May 18, 11:28 AM
    • #9
    • 10th May 18, 11:28 AM
    How can they have 'built flooring over drains' if all they did was convert the garage to a dining room? The drain access would not have been under the garage? This implies that they extended out beyond the original garage area.
    Did they obtain planning permission for the conversion? Do the houses have any restrictive covenants that are relevant to such work?
    Originally posted by macman
    Drains in garages, kitchens, hallways etc are not at all unheard of.

    Although how OP knows they've floored over the drain without installing an access hatch when they're not even on speaking terms is another question entirely.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 10th May 18, 12:40 PM
    • 2,142 Posts
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    FreeBear
    Drains in garages, kitchens, hallways etc are not at all unheard of.
    Originally posted by peachyprice
    Indeed - I have one in my kitchen and another in the garage. In habitable spaces, they need to be of an approved design that have an effective seal built in.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • melb
    • By melb 10th May 18, 2:14 PM
    • 2,622 Posts
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    melb
    Did there used to be a rule whereby if something has stood for 4 years, even if it was built illegally in the first place, and nobody has questioned it legality, it can remain?

    Not much use to the person who I have sympathy with but just wondered if I had imagined this?
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 10th May 18, 2:34 PM
    • 26,862 Posts
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    Davesnave
    Did there used to be a rule whereby if something has stood for 4 years, even if it was built illegally in the first place, and nobody has questioned it legality, it can remain?

    Not much use to the person who I have sympathy with but just wondered if I had imagined this?
    Originally posted by melb
    Yes, and a man called Mr Fidler made it more widely known by mischievously building a mock castle, hiding it behind a mountain of hay bales until 4 years had elapsed.

    However, his actions weren't seen as being in the spirit of the law, or very sporting, so the nasty cad was forced to knock the whole thing down.

    It's quite likely that Andrew Lloyd Webber is writing a musical about it as I type...
    "We won't get fooled again...."
    • Debbie Savard
    • By Debbie Savard 10th May 18, 8:43 PM
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    Debbie Savard
    Sounds like you're link-detached with the garages between the houses, and next door have changed use to a dining-room?



    Your garage could still be used to tune-up a noisy motorbike engine most evenings and weekends?
    Last edited by Debbie Savard; 10-05-2018 at 8:50 PM.
    • fezster
    • By fezster 11th May 18, 9:28 AM
    • 288 Posts
    • 174 Thanks
    fezster
    Did there used to be a rule whereby if something has stood for 4 years, even if it was built illegally in the first place, and nobody has questioned it legality, it can remain?

    Not much use to the person who I have sympathy with but just wondered if I had imagined this?
    Originally posted by melb
    4 years for planning and one year for building regs.

    However, if the drain built over is owned by the water authority, then I believe there is no time limit for enforcement.
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 11th May 18, 6:06 PM
    • 27,031 Posts
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    VfM4meplse
    OP, your entire first post comes across as very intolerant and looking for a reason for confrontation.
    Originally posted by fezster
    That's not how I read it. The OP feels trapped which is why she came to the good folk on the forum. The builder sounds like a rip-off merchant playing on her fears prophet of doom, a good structural survey pays for itself in terms of savings on unnecessary work.

    A second opinion is required at the very least.
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...If in doubt, don't pull out... I love chaz-ing!
    • AndyMc.....
    • By AndyMc..... 11th May 18, 7:24 PM
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    AndyMc.....
    Sounds like you're link-detached with the garages between the houses, and next door have changed use to a dining-room?



    Your garage could still be used to tune-up a noisy motorbike engine most evenings and weekends?
    Originally posted by Debbie Savard
    Is that the best you can come up with?
    • fezster
    • By fezster 12th May 18, 10:11 AM
    • 288 Posts
    • 174 Thanks
    fezster
    That's not how I read it. The OP feels trapped which is why she came to the good folk on the forum. The builder sounds like a rip-off merchant playing on her fears prophet of doom, a good structural survey pays for itself in terms of savings on unnecessary work.

    A second opinion is required at the very least.
    Originally posted by VfM4meplse
    I do have sympathy for the OP, so my post have been a little harsh. I do believe they should have a conversation with the neighbour before making any assumptions on how they might react - you would hope most people would be reasonable, as long as they don't feel threatened or being accused of something (i.e. don't use the word "illegal" when having said conversation with them, OP). Best of luck.
    • photome
    • By photome 12th May 18, 10:57 AM
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    photome
    Will the OP return with answers. hope so

    has 3 times started threads ( in 4 posts) over a number of years.
    • Lysimache
    • By Lysimache 12th May 18, 11:13 AM
    • 176 Posts
    • 64 Thanks
    Lysimache
    Hypothetically, can you legally demolish your garage, leave a wall standing and just wait for the other side's dining room to collapse and fall apart, and then get on with the rest of your rebuilding work?



    Do you have any legal obligation to ensure the neighbour's dining room doesn't collapse?
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 12th May 18, 8:12 PM
    • 27,031 Posts
    • 57,577 Thanks
    VfM4meplse
    Hypothetically, can you legally demolish your garage, leave a wall standing and just wait for the other side's dining room to collapse and fall apart, and then get on with the rest of your rebuilding work?



    Do you have any legal obligation to ensure the neighbour's dining room doesn't collapse?
    Originally posted by Lysimache
    Even if it's legal, it's not very neighbourly
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...If in doubt, don't pull out... I love chaz-ing!
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