Party Wall Award
party wall surveyor

Ask a Party Wall Surveyor...

Can My Neighbours Stop My Loft Conversion?

Can My Neighbour Stop My Loft Conversion From Happening?

Loft conversions and housework are enough of a hassle and headache themselves that any conflict with neighbours can worsen it immensely. Knowing exactly what your rights and responsibilities are before work starts is your best protection against conflict. Most of the time, your neighbours won’t be able to stop you from converting your loft, except in the case where it affects what’s known as a party wall. Read on to find out more.

can my neighbour stop my loft conversion

When Can My Neighbour Stop Your Loft Conversion

In most cases where it doesn’t directly affect their building at all, your neighbour cannot stop your loft conversion. However, if your loft conversion work involves touching what’s known as a party wall, then your neighbour can indeed dissent the work.

A party wall is an interior or exterior wall or structure which is shared by two different buildings. If you live in a semi-detached or terraced house, then there will be party walls in some areas of your home. Any work being done to a wall like this needs to be consented to by both parties. So, to carry out any such work, you need to first obtain a Party Wall Agreement.

What Is A Party Wall Agreement

A Party Wall Agreement is a legal document that provides written consent from both parties to a construction work proposal on a shared wall or structure. It must be obtained before you go ahead with any such work; this includes minor jobs like repairing garden walls and larger projects if any construction work is needed to be performed on a party wall.  

If you’re planning to convert your loft, you’ll need to think about any adjacent walls which your work might affect. It might be that your building has party walls with another house, but that your loft doesn’t. In this case, you shouldn’t need an agreement. Any changes you are making to a party wall, however minor, will require an agreement.

The agreement itself is what you might call the finished product. Once you have the agreement in writing, you’re free to go ahead with the proposed work. There are specific channels you are required to follow to obtain one, so read on to find out how to secure a Party Wall Agreement.

If you live in London or its surrounding areas and you’re looking for a party wall surveyor, contact us about our detailed party wall packages.

How Do I Get A Party Wall Agreement?

Before you can get the Party Wall Agreement that you need to begin the work, you must first serve notice to the other party. Once you’ve issued notice to your neighbour, ideally, they will consent to the work right away and sign the agreement, granting you the Party Wall Award you need to begin work.

You are legally required to have their written consent, but it’s generally helpful to speak to your neighbour in person first of all, if possible. Having notice sprung on you without warning can be very jarring, and it might put your neighbour off giving you their consent. Understandably, they may feel more comfortable if they’re able to ask you any questions before giving consent. You’re much more likely to secure consent on the first try here and avoid the potential delays that come with even minor disputes.

How To Issue A Party Wall Notice

Before you can get the Party Wall Agreement that you need to begin the work, you must first serve notice to the other party. Once you’ve issued notice to your neighbour, ideally, they will consent to the work right away and sign the agreement, granting you the Party Wall Award you need to begin work.

You are legally required to have their written consent, but it’s generally helpful to speak to your neighbour in person first of all, if possible. Having notice sprung on you without warning can be very jarring, and it might put your neighbour off giving you their consent. Understandably, they may feel more comfortable if they’re able to ask you any questions before giving consent. You’re much more likely to secure consent on the first try here and avoid the potential delays that come with even minor disputes.

What To Do If Your Party Wall Notice Gets Rejected

Legally, of course, your neighbour is within their rights to dissent to the proposed work, though they will have to demonstrate a valid reason. From the date that you first issue notice, your neighbour has 14 days to give their consent. They can also, in that time, issue a counter-notice proposing specific alterations to work.

If an agreement can’t be reached, then at this point, you are legally required to hire a Party Wall surveyor (if you did not already hire one to issue notice) whose role at this point is essentially to settle the dispute. The surveyor becomes an impartial mediator and will set out the details of the work in an attempt to reach an agreement. While in most cases, both parties can agree to use the services of the same surveyor to settle the dispute, the other party is within their rights to appoint a second surveyor at your expense. In the case that these two surveyors still cannot agree, then a third surveyor is appointed to adjudicate the dispute.  

Loft conversions can be big jobs, but if you comply with all the terms of the Party Wall Act, then they cannot simply stop you from ever carrying out the work. In most cases, the surveyors can resolve the dispute and come to an equitable agreement for both parties. In the worst case, you may have to resolve the dispute in court.

Can They Stop My Loft Conversion?

Your typical loft conversion can be something that will ultimately benefit your property in a big way.

But are there any times in the process that your dreams could be dashed by an oibjection from a disgruntled neighbour.

Generally speaking, when it comes to a loft conversion, in many cases you don’t have to worry about seeking planning permission to convert your loft. 

Unless of course you are looking to add dormers to the front of your property.

Your basic rear box dormer, with perhaps a couple of Veluxes to the front will normally fall under your Permitted Development Rights and therfore Planning would not need to consult with your neighbours on this kind of home renovation project.

Ultimately, there may be instances where your neighbour can contest your loft conversion, in which case you will need to refer back to the Party Wall Act 1996.

This was created in situations where alterations to a property are going to be used that involve a wall which is owned by both you and your neighbour.

Understandably, this can be very difficult for people to navigate if they are unfamiliar with the process, so let’s take a look at what our neighbour can do to prevent a loft conversion.

No Party Wall, No Major Issues

So, generally speaking, if your loft conversion does not involve cutting into the party wall for supporting beams or any other structural alterations to a wall shared between you and a neighbour then there is very little that they can do to prevent you converting your loft. 

If your property is detached then again there is no need to issue party wall notices onto your neighbours. 

Obviously, if your loft conversion does require planning permission, there is a period where anybody is free to register comments with the local authority about the conversion itself.

As the only people that will be given direct notice about the planned conversion would be your neighbours, traditionally they will be the only people who will ever have a comment to make.

Party Wall?

However, if your loft conversion will involve the use of a party wall, specifically a party wall which is shared between you and the building next to you, then you will need to consider the Party Wall Act.

Functionally, these are a set of guidelines which are laid down to protect both your rights and the rights of your neighbour. When you are interacting with a wall that is owned by the both of you, this is where the Party Wall Act comes into play. It’s to protect the concerns of the building owner and the neighbouring owner.

So, it works a little bit like this. What you’re going to have to do is file notice that you intend to make the changes that will alter the party wall. You have to have to do this in the form of written documents, which have to be delivered two months before you want to make the changes.

That notice period has to be two months to allow your neighbour to properly come to a decision about whether they are going to allow the changes or dispute them. If they agree to them, that’s fantastic, but if they do not, then a dispute begins, and both sides will probably have to hire party wall surveyors and come to a conclusion.

In all circumstances however, it is worth noting that your neighbour cannot stop you from carrying out your loft conversion and nor would their surveyor be looking to do so.  

It is the job of the party wall surveyors to resolve disputes and not add to them and therfore in almost every instance an agreement will be reached and your loft conversion project will go ahead.

Can You Stop This?

Ultimately, sometimes you can prevent your loft conversion from being interrupted by going and having a conversation with your neighbour about what you intend to do. If you sit down with them and talk about the different challenges that they’re facing, make sure they have a chance to ask any questions or queries, and reach compromises, then you may be able to get things done.

Communication is everything when you’re trying to work out a solution to your loft conversion challenges. You have to be honest with people about what you’re looking for, and make sure that you talk with your neighbours at every opportunity. Remember that being honest and truthful about what you intend to do is really going to help you to convince people that the planned alterations are a good idea.

Ultimately, if you are building on a party wall, your neighbours will have a few concerns. But that’s okay, because it means that you have time to talk with them about it, and make sure that everyone understands what’s going to happen.

Final Thoughts

So ultimately, your loft conversion is a pretty important thing to take a look at, and it may be the case that you have to think about the party wall when construction starts.

Now, obviously, you’re not trying to upset your neighbour deliberately, but these things do happen from time to time, so it’s important to talk with them about the planned alterations. If you can get your neighbour on side, then more so the better.

When it comes to what you do and when, you have to think about all of the different outcomes and options that you have available. It’s all about taking time to get the best possible choices. Open communication is so important for making sure that when you and your neighbour have to navigate party wall disputes together, it doesn’t become a better feud. It’s just about being reasonable, and being willing to compromise on some of the smaller issues to keep your neighbours happy.

Fixed Price Party Wall Limited
282 Leigh Road,
Leigh-on-Sea
Essex
SS9 1BW

01702 888 805

support@fixedpricepartywall.co.uk

Can My Neighbour Stop My Loft Conversion?

Website Design By Trade Exposure 2022