building an extension on a boundary

pondpaul
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building an extension on a boundary

Post by pondpaul »

I moved to my dorma semi about 5 years ago and always had problems with my neighbours from day one.
We built our own extension to the opposite side from them and had the police called to us about 10 times for noise and allsorts.
Last year they put in planning for an extension, it was passed with exeptions, back 200mm from the boundary, and 3.2 meters out.
They asked me could they take down the fence so they can build, so being a good neighbour i said yes just aslong as it was erected again at the end, this was done because when they dig out the foundations, the concrete posts will become unsafe and i didnt want anyone to get hurt.
Due to my work, I was away for about 3 weeks and when I came back the base was already down. When i looked, the base was on the boundary and the lower wall was connected into the house. At this I confronted him and showed him his set of plans from the council website, he was shocked that I had a copy of them. I told him to told him to take the base back 200mm to where the plans state, his reply was that the council came round, inspected it and said it was ok.
The next day I contacted the planning and they said it is not up to them to say where the boundarys are and it has nothing to do with them, they said we have to see a solicitor and get them to move it.
Later that week we contacted a solicitor, they sent them a letter to stop work and remove the base, aletter came back from their solicitor saying there is no proof of our claims and they will keep building.
That weekend they built the wall, as it happens the wall is 30mm encroaching on my side of the boundary and they cut through the roof tiles on the facia overhang.
It has now been 8 weeks since they have done any external work, they covered the roof with plastic to keep it dry inside, but i can hear them working internally.
We have tried contacting them by letter and had no reply, we haven't even had a party wall notice.
We have just had a surveyor in to do a CPR part 35 report which he is also going to be a mediator and contact them, the costs are going up, at the moment its about £600.00 and I dont think they are going to reply to him.
Does anyone know how much this will cost in the end if we have to go to court?
I presume I can claim costs back.
He does most of this work himself as i'm sure he can't afford to have someone do it for him.
How do I claim costs if he cant pay?
mr sheen
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by mr sheen »

Sadly it isn't as simple as that.
They are right in that you cannot prove exactly where the boundary was and 200mm issues are considered so small as not to warrant compensation or legal action so if you pursue it you will probably be left paying your own costs. It is highly unlikely that a court would get them to take the extension down and the loss of a few cm would mean you have lost nothing in monetary terms so you are unlikely to get any compensation.
They have probably been advised not to respond to any correspondence and wait and see what, if anything, you do about it. Only if you issue court proceedings are they likely to respond, and issuing of court proceedings would not be worthwhile. They have no compulsion to enter into mediation with your surveyor and you will have to pay the surveyor.
Josie Jones
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by Josie Jones »

Sadly I have to agree with Mr Sheen. I can't see a court ordering an extension to be taken down for a 20cm encroachment.

Even if you went to court and won, you wouldn't get all your money back - maybe just 60-70%.

Speak to your solicitor about arranging a party wall agreement - see how easily it can be enforced.

I'm sorry that your good neighbourliness and trust has been turned against you.

Josie
despair
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by despair »

Have you carefully checked all mortgages/insurances/credit cards/union membership for Legal Expenses Cover

As to 20cm encroachment that is not really minimal .............thats 8 inches which in a limited sideway or space would be a lot and you still have to add gutters soffits and fascias to that

The planners clearly set the plans for the walls to be set back from the boundary
just because building regs officer passed the quality of the building does not give your neighbour right to encroach
Josie Jones
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by Josie Jones »

Well I would hope that the remaining fencing has gone back in place and no further access has been allowed to the OP's property. I personally would not allow the neighbour to complete any remaining work from my property.

Take lots of photos!!!
mr sheen
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by mr sheen »

PS I would get a 6'6'' mega-solid fence back up asap and inform their solicitor (including surveyor's report if it is favourable) that since his client refuses to discuss the matter and no replies to letters have been received, the fence has been replaced and must not be touched and any item that trespasses into my airspace or land will be removed without further notice and no access will be granted to my land until such time as your client agrees to the whole matter being referred to mediation or a court order for access is received.
Sudynim
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by Sudynim »

despair wrote:As to 20cm encroachment that is not really minimal .............
I don't think it's a an encroachment. Seems to my reading that he was supposed to stop 200mm short of the boundary, but built right up to it.
andrew54
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by andrew54 »

Sudynim wrote:
despair wrote:As to 20cm encroachment that is not really minimal .............
I don't think it's a an encroachment. Seems to my reading that he was supposed to stop 200mm short of the boundary, but built right up to it.
The OP clearly says an encroachment of 30mm Now while that is minimal, it is going to look a bit odd with a 30mm kink in the fence!

Pondpaul, with hindsight it is clear you have let this go too far. If you had really wanted to prevent this it should have been a court order on the day the first bricks were laid. Put the fence back up now and get on with life. Put this behind you.
pondpaul
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by pondpaul »

Thankyou for all your replies.
When we get the surveyors report back, I was thinking of getting a court injunction on him to stop the building going any further and sit on it till he talks.
I've been told that we can get one for 12 months and re-new it after it is up, hopefully he will talk.
Is this a possability?
His roof still has no tiles on it yet, can i stop him from taking them right up to the edge of the brickwork, so they are 30mm back ontop of the wall?

Mr Sheen.
How can a court tell me to give him part of my land, house and roof, even if it is only 30mm.
He does most of the work himself and cowboys it, I've seen it, that's why i don't want it anywhere near our house.
Here's something else.
Our fence at 12 feet from the house was 4 inches on his land, I admit that and one day when we was at work, he moved it 6 inches back on our land without asking, we caught this on CCTV and reported it to the police, this was after he received our solicitors letters to stop all work. So this proves how he works.


Thankyou again for all your responses
Sudynim
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by Sudynim »

pondpaul wrote:Thankyou for all your replies.
When we get the surveyors report back, I was thinking of getting a court injunction on him to stop the building going any further and sit on it till he talks.
I've been told that we can get one for 12 months and re-new it after it is up, hopefully he will talk.
Is this a possability?
No, it isn't. An injunction is only a temporary stay so that you can commence proceedings. You cannot "get one and sit on it" in the situation you describe.

You would have to apply for an order that he removes his wall from your land, and an injunction to cease work until that hearing is completed. He can argue that the works are too far advanced and this is unjust, or more likely he'll argue that you're wrong about the boundary line and he is only building on his own land.

As the plaintiff, you have the burden of persuading the judge of your claim. This will inevitably be a long and ugly process, with potential for significant costs and a dispute to mar future resale value. If you feel strongly that it's worth the trouble, then you need to engage a solicitor to commence the proceedings for you.
mr sheen
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by mr sheen »

pondpaul wrote: When we get the surveyors report back, I was thinking of getting a court injunction on him to stop the building going any further and sit on it till he talks.
I've been told that we can get one for 12 months and re-new it after it is up, hopefully he will talk.
Is this a possability?
His roof still has no tiles on it yet, can i stop him from taking them right up to the edge of the brickwork, so they are 30mm back ontop of the wall?

Mr Sheen.
How can a court tell me to give him part of my land, house and roof, even if it is only 30mm.
He does most of the work himself and cowboys it, I've seen it, that's why i don't want it anywhere near our house.
Here's something else.
Our fence at 12 feet from the house was 4 inches on his land, I admit that and one day when we was at work, he moved it 6 inches back on our land without asking, we caught this on CCTV and reported it to the police, this was after he received our solicitors letters to stop all work. So this proves how he works.
You cannot just 'get an injunction'. Injunctions are not handed out lightly. You have to prove where the boundary is and it is clear that the position of the boundary has already been under dispute from the info about him moving the fence. You will say it is in a certain place and he will say it is somewhere else. You have allowed him to build the extension without applying for an injunction as soon as he started which, if he was building on your land, the court would have expected you to do something immediately and since you didn't it gives credibility to his case that he wasn't building on your land.
It isn't a case that the court will 'give' him some of your land since he will claim it is his land and your actions in doing nothing would support his assertions. They would just find in his favour that it is his land or they will find that it is your land but you allowed the extension to be built so they would just award you a token amount of 'compensation' for the loss of you few cm of land which is likely to be very small. Costs will be very high (1000's to 10's of 1000's) and even if you win the court will frown upon your actions in letting the extension be built and then taking legal action and therefore you may be left with your own costs and you may even be ordered to pay his costs or some of them. This risk of costs alone, win or lose, makes any legal action completely pointless.
His choice of builder is his even if you consider them 'cowboys'.
pondpaul
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by pondpaul »

Hi Sudynim
We have had a solicitor on the case, but she is on hold until the reports are complete, didn't want to pay her for the work i can do myself.
The court injunction is only a temperary order, but there is no saying how long it will take to get it sorted and get to court, if he won't co-operate then it could take months.
I hear what you are saying about the land, but he has connected his extension onto my side of the wall and cut his new wall through my roof, the only way of sealing it is to put 4 inces of flashing further over my roof to which there was none before, this means that he then owns that flashing and i would not be able to touch it, thus even that part of my roof becomes his, there was nothing in his plans about that or anything about coming close to my house.
As I said, how can a court give part of my house away when he has crossed passed half way over the party wall on the house, I cant find any case where a court gives a wall to someone else when it clearly belongs to me.

Thanks
Paul
pondpaul
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by pondpaul »

Sorry about being so abrupt.
What I need is positive answers and ideas to stop him from doing what he is doing, not things that I can't do, all i am trying to do is think of ways to stop him.

Many Thanks
Paul
madmoggy
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by madmoggy »

i feel much sympathy, we had a very similar situation with an inconsiderate neighbour and their new building work, but our council approved a minimum distance of 10cm from our boundary!

make sure your fence is back up asap, and don't give them any access at all to finish their building work. there's not much else you can do when the council walks away and the neighbours have no respect for your property
pondpaul
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Re: building an extension on a boundary

Post by pondpaul »

I agree that we shouldnt have let him build it, the wall was built in one day, we had no party wall notice or any indication that he was going to build so close until it was up, we had the solicitors on it straight away as we knew and he has stopped all external work since, but we believe that he will be resuming soon if we don't counter act with something soon.

Many thanks
Paul
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