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  • Property-a-holics

    Buying a house, dodgy extension next door?

    Hi all

    I am after some advice. I am in the process of buying a home however there seems to be some potential extension issues.

    Here is a picture of the house...

    Notice the guttering on the right side of the property. An extension was done to this property in 2006. Then, in 2015, the neighbours also did a similar extension to build on top of their garage. The issue now is that they have built over the guttering as you can see in the image.

    Now both extensions have planning and building control and according to the local authority website, their status' are building work complete. However I am puzzled at how a boundary issue has not been raised as there is a clear breach of this space. How can the neighbouring property be allowed to have their guttering above the adjacent property?

    I am now in two minds of purchasing this property because of this issue. My biggest concern is potential leakages, damp, and minimal control of maintenance to that gutter underneath the neighbouring gutter.

    Interested to hear some advice on how to move forwards other than the obvious "plenty of other properties out there". Is this something to discuss with the solicitor? Or is it worth finding out and contacting the officer who approved the works?

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    From what it appears in the picture, the house on the left has actually breached the space of the house on the right - the house on the right seems to have built within its own space. I am basing this on the location of the red brick boundary wall?

    I built an extension some ten years ago and from the lacklustre planning control council employees that would turn up, they did not seem to care where I built - that was my responsibility. The council planning officials were

    only concerned with ensuring building regulations were adhered to, and not whether I built according to the planning permission that I had obtained.

    From what I remember, either party can complain that a breach of planning permission has been committed - it is time limited and if both are old extensions, then a complaint may now not be possible - therefore both parties may be safe on those grounds.

    It will be difficult to carry out a DIY guttering clean for both parties now and should the guttering of the house on the right hand side fill with leaves and debris, it may cause water/damp issues on your side.

    Have you raised this with the present home owner? I see many houses built with this overlap of guttering, especially in London properties.

    The alternative to overlapping the gutting was either to reduce the width of the extension by 6 inches or to raise outer wall above the roof height  - that of course makes the extension somewhat unsightly to many.

    I presume the home owner can show you the paper work to prove that the building regulations have been approved? If not, you will find it difficult to get a mortgage on the property.

    It is always best to ask for these before you spend money on costly surveys etc...




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    Hi TSR

    Thanks for the reply. You are correct in your assumption. The house on the left (the one I am buying) is the one in breach, not the one on the right. I imagine when the house on the right came to extend, the owner on the left either didn't know about the extension OR they did know about the guttering covering theirs, however knew not to object because then the house on the right could say the house on the left has crossed over the boundary.

    I have spoken to my solicitor and am awaiting a response, however I have done some research online and like you say I may be safe as it has been done over 12 years ago.

    The home owner is out of the country so Im unable to contact him. I am going to speak with my architect to get his opinion. Will update when I do

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    I have seen a lot of houses like that and can hardly bear to look at them.  They make me feel all claustrophobic.

    How is anyone ever supposed to maintain the space between the 2 houses should anything ever go wrong?

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    Exactly! This is my biggest issue. Seems very prone to damp and leaks, and if identified, I can't see what can really be done about it

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    Yes the lower gutter is still presumably taking all the rain water from the roof of the house on the left, so when it fills up with whatever/starts leaking from a perished joint, it will presumably run continuously onto the flank wall?

    .

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    I am not 100% sure, but the building line of an extension or a house can sit on the boundary line and not over it.  BUT the gutter and eave board can often end up projecting over the neighbours property.  I am wondering if this is the case here and so it was all ok according to planning.

    I have a neighbours garage which sits on the boundary and the gutter is set on to my properties land.

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    If it was done in 2006 nothing can be enforced by the planning authorities on any breach, though presumably if yours gets damp the HHSRS people can come for you.

    I'd say that the LHS is the better place to be as you have the lowest gutter so ultimately control where the water goes.

    If there is some sort of gap then damp issues should be mitigated by airflow.

    You takes your choice, and pays your money .... once you have evaluated any reduction in value and persuaded the seller to agree. I would say that is about all that can be said.

    Ferdinand

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    Thanks for your reply. That seems to be where my head is at currently. I have my architect viewing the place today, let's see what he says.

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    If you have any uncertainties about the property and are not completely happy walk away. Remember your concerns could well be the next buyers if and when you sell. Also any future problems with guttering and leaking from next door could result in hassle trying to get it fixed.

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    I would be tempted to ask for a discount based on what you perceive to be future problems in your ownership and the next buyer raising exactly the same issues as you have?

    Would a £10k reduction make you more keen to purchase? £20k?

    It's up to you depending on your plans.

    Has your surveyor had any input?

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