Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

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Flitch Fancier
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Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

Post by Flitch Fancier » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:03 pm

I own half of a C16th Grade 2 listed property, which was split into two homes many years ago. We each have one side of a large central Inglenook fireplace [Plan], which forms part of the common boundary.

Originally there was a passageway next to the fireplace [South] that joined the two halves (Hi-status - right, Kitchen at our end, left), this was closed with a C20th single skin brick wall. We believe that there was a brick built Bread oven on the Northern side, with a staircase above. The boundary fence in the back garden aligns with this C20th brick wall [Plan].

However, at some point within the last 30 years a previous neighbour has demolished the Tudor Bread oven - only just discovered by us - presumably to enlarge their living room [I've seen the photos of the work, which now make sense...]. This work has removed the rear corner of our Inglenook, which has been crudely repaired with C20th bricks [Photos]. We also think that, in the process, they have 'acquired' a couple of feet from our lounge, this being the space between the current wall and our side of the original Bread oven, now all part of their enlarged Living room.

Inglenook Plan .png

IMG_20190418_114727.jpeg
IMG_20190418_114623.jpeg

We have raised this with the local Listed Building Officer, as we wish to repair the damage and await their reply with interest... My understanding is that, whoever demolished the Bread Oven [A previous neighbour that now lives 100 yards away] has committed a criminal offence, but it is now the current owner's responsibility to put this right. There is no Statute of Limitation on unauthorised Listed Building work.

In addition, we have the Party Wall Act issues, in that the demolition work has breached to our side of the boundary - there's a bloody great hole in our wall that you could cycle through - were it not for a pile of modern bricks crudely glued together.

My questions are:
  • Should I be getting a Party Wall solicitor involved at this point, or wait to see if the Local Authority are going to take (Listed Building) action?
  • What if the Authority just shrug their shoulders, rather than make our neighbour put it right (At their own expense)?
  • Who do I need to sue for damages, our current neighbour, or the one that did the demolition work?
I'm grateful for any thoughts you may have...
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Janieb
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Re: Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

Post by Janieb » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:00 pm

You will get good advice on this site. However, I don’t know if you have already visited “periodproperty.co.uk” where you will also find good advice and help.
"I prefer rogues to imbeciles, because they sometimes take a rest" Alexandre Dumas (fils)

Flitch Fancier
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Re: Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

Post by Flitch Fancier » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:27 pm

Thanks for the advice... I'll take a look.

ukmicky
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Re: Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

Post by ukmicky » Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:11 am

It that part of the wall a party wall

What you and your-neighbours are responsible for statutory wise due to the building being a listed building is different to what you are responsible for common law wise .


So If you want to sue someone to get the cost of the remedial work backyou may difficulties as I can’t see under common law the new neighbours being at fault and showing you have a claim against the previous owners may be hard as a lot of time has now go by and you were not the owners of your house when the damage was done. You have sort of bought what you bought which is why buildings are surveyed prior to purchase. (But I could be wrong)

You will need a solicitor but dont be surprised if he will not give you a clear answer as to whether you would win any such claim
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

Flitch Fancier
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Re: Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

Post by Flitch Fancier » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:13 pm

Hi UK

Thanks for your message

Yes definitely a Party Wall. I fear you may be correct wrt time for the Party Wall issue, however, my understanding [hope] is that the Listed Building issue will save us; my understanding is that there is no time limit [and a criminal offence] and the current owner will need to re-instate / make good, and then its up to them to sue the people they bought from, or their conveyancing solicitor... (Fingers crossed!)

IdefixUK
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Re: Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

Post by IdefixUK » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:01 pm

If those photos were taken from "your side", then I assume that you are involved in some building works on this listed building. Doubtless you have consent for these alterations from the appropriate authority. Please confirm if these photos are recent and taken from your own property.

Regards

ukmicky
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Re: Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

Post by ukmicky » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:59 pm

If it’s a party wall on a listed building you will find it doesn’t matter who did it . You both own it so both will be responsible for its repair..whether or not you can sue to regain the cost will come latter on.
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

Flitch Fancier
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Re: Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

Post by Flitch Fancier » Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:19 pm

Hi Indfix

When they demolished the body of the oven [apparently on their side of the chimney] and absorbed the floor area into their own living room, it appears that they also 'accidentally' broke through the back of our fireplace, where the fire holes were located, to create the 'larger' hole you now see.

image1.jpeg

To make good on their side, they built a curved single-skin wall of modern brick that 'leans' against the hole from their side, as shown above, but viewed from our side - this is "As-is".

It appears our neighbours also 'broke in' the the then empty property to put some bricks back in on our side, in an attempt to hide the damage. We have been told stories by another neighbour of how they gained access through the loft to 'explore' the then empty side. We bought from the people that moved in after this had happened and until now they (And we) only saw this...

image6.jpeg

Originally, I imagine our fireplace looked something like this:

image5.jpeg

We have recently applied for LBC to do some other work associated with the Inglenook and when we were investigating - prior to making our LBC application, a few of these bricks on our side 'fell out'. As we examined the damage and carefully removed the other 'bodged' brickwork the situation became clear! We have included 'Making good' this damage as part of our LBC, which is currently being considered by the Council...
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arborlad
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Re: Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

Post by arborlad » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:14 pm

Flitch Fancier wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:03 pm
I own half of a C16th Grade 2 listed property, which was split into two homes many years ago. We each have one side of a large central Inglenook fireplace [Plan], which forms part of the common boundary.



Can you clarify this, mostly, where there is a single dwelling, there will be a single inglenook fireplace, could one be genuine and original and the other much more recent?
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

Flitch Fancier
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Re: Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

Post by Flitch Fancier » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:01 pm

Hi Arbourlad

No, both original Tudor. The property was built as a single Tudor cottage with a front door opposite a central Chimney and a staircase up and over the bread oven, located on the opposite side of the chimney. It was divided into two separate dwellings (Semi-detached) more than 100 years ago and the staircase was removed to leave a wall on our neighbour's side...

Originally, if you entered the cottage and turned right, you ended up in the High Status end - Living room including an Inglenook fireplace. If you turned left you ended up in the kitchen with a Cooking range Inglenook and Bread ovens; the Inglenooks are back-to-back, ours is the Low Status (Kitchen) end, which also had the fire holes for the bread oven. Our neighbour (In the High Status end) broke in to the side of the bread oven and thence through the back of our fireplace.

Roblewis
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Re: Party Wall demolished in Listed Building

Post by Roblewis » Thu May 09, 2019 9:57 pm

I presume you had a survey undertaken prior to purchase. If this was not mentioned in the report then you may have a case against your surveyor. You are right re owners repair responsibilities as the liability is a strict one whereby the faults existence requires owners action even if he/she was not the misfeasor.

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