How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Stuart J Your Own Question
Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22624
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
Type Your UK Property Law Question Here...
Stuart J is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My sister in law is having her conservatory re-erected - building

This answer was rated:

My sister in law is having her conservatory re-erected - building regs & plans all approved by the right people/bodies, not excavation or foundation done as old ones were signed off by the right body as suitable.

Just before she started she was told that she did not need a party wall agreement.. it turns out she did ( 1 RSJ being bolted to the shared wall) some work had started but she immediately contacted her neighbor and provided the right document, she instructed the builders to stop work via e-mail, and went on vacation. several things then happened:
1 - building did not read e-mail and carried on work
2 - neighbor did not respond until after 3 weeks asking for all building to stop,
3 - sister in law informed that, this was now too late as builder had gone ahead.
4 - neighbor is now planning to sue for compensation, will appoint her own surveyor etc..

A couple of additional facts:
Neighbor claims it is her wall BUT when erected was actually build on my sister in laws land - 6 inchs over middle of boundary- is the neighbor therefore trespassing.
Neighbor's main concern is that sister in Law should not build at all as she might want to take her extension down one day.

where does she stand legally
what are her best next steps
is there any point in the neighbor appointing a surveyor as work is all but complete. minus tiling and cosmetic.

many thanks
Thank you for your question here on Just answer. It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me if I need to ask for any further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully. My name isXXXXX and I am a practising solicitor. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.

Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case. I will be online and off-line all day most weekdays and weekends.

Do you have a specific question?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

hello and thank you for taking the time


where does she stand legally and what should she do next ?

I cannot see how the neighbour can say that this is their wall of it is clearly on your sister-in-law’s land. If however it abuts the boundary, there should still be a party wall agreement although the reality is that the neighbour can do nothing about it. In addition, the conservatory is now up and it appears that whilst the neighbour may want some compensation (been reading too many of the wrong kind of law books?), The neighbour is only entitled to compensation if the neighbour has suffered any kind of loss.
If the wall is built by the neighbour entirely on your sister-in-law’s land, and it is indeed trespass but I imagine that your sister-in-law does not want it removed! Once it has been in place for 10 years then there is a possible claim for adverse possession of the land and if it has not been an exclusive use of the land, after 20 years, there is an easement for the wall to remain in place.
From the description of the wall, whoever’s land it is on, it is a party wall regardless and therefore the neighbour would not be able to take the extension down without your sister-in-law’s consent in any event.
To be honest, I cannot see any point in either of them appointing a surveyor if the work is now done and there is no damage. I cannot see what the surveyor will report on.
Does that answer the question? Can I answer any specific points?
Can I answer any specific points or clarify anything?
If you have not done already, please don't forget to positively rate my answer service even if it was not what you wanted to hear. You should now see a series of buttons which enable you to rate my answer service formally.
If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and I get 0 for my time. It is imperative that you give my answer a positive rating.
It doesn’t give me, “a pat on the head”, “good boy” (like ebay), it is my livelihood!
If in ratings you feel that you expected more or it only helped a little, please ask.
The thread does remain open for me to answer follow-up questions after rating my answer service.
Rating doesn’t close the enquiry at all even though the site may give that impression. It remains open for you to read and ask for further clarification.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Many thanks, XXXXX XXXXX really what we thought, nice to hear we were on the right path.

what should my sister in Laws next step be in response to the e-mail stating she will also involve a solicitor for the "breach & trespass of my boundary wall" AND involve Planning enforcement for the "break and trespass of my boundary wall which will invalidate the certificate of Lawfulness"

I would quite simply say ”thank you for your email of the X date. Please make all future correspondence in writing as I will no longer reply to emails due to the contentious nature of the matter. I look forward to receiving correspondence your solicitor and when I do get it, I will seek legal advice and revert directly to your solicitor” check the house insurance to see if there is legal expenses cover that would pay for the cost of this. If there is, check with the insurance company that this is covered and it is covered, add-on to the end of the letter “I have checked with my insurance company and they have advised me that I have legal expenses cover which will pay for the legal costs of any litigation. Yours sincerely.” If their solicitor writes then take the correspondence to a solicitor and deal with it. Until then, there is little point in getting stressed The reason for not replying to emails is that people fire them off willy-nilly because they are so easy. People will also whinge and moan and blow hot air without actually doing anything and that serves no purpose whatsoever. If anything is going to happen, it needs to be done now, not later. Many people will prattle on for months threatening solicitors (which is stressful in itself) and not actually do anything


If you have not done already, please don't forget to positively rate my answer service even if it was not what you wanted to hear.

if you don't rate it positively, I don't get paid.


Stuart J and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you