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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22620
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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My neighbour wants to build a side extension to their house

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My neighbour wants to build a side extension to their house but to do this they will need to knock down a party wall between our garages and remove the roof to both garages. They seem to think they are able to do this without our permission as all they have to do is put the garage back together again. Can they access our garage without our permission? It doesnt seem right that they can knock down our property, cause us inconvenience of having to remove everything out of the garage without having to compensate us in some way

Hello, I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High Street practice. 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, I might not always respond in minutes. Please bear with me in that case.

It is with pleasure to try to assist you with this today. Please bear with me while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully.

Do you own or rent your home?

Unless I have all the facts that I need, my answer would not be accurate.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

we own our property

Have they served you with a party Wall act notice?
Will this cause you mega problems or inconvenience?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They are still at the planning stage and not yet put in a planning application with the council. I understand that they will need to give us a party wall act notification within one month of the work going ahead. We would like to know our rights though before receiving this notification in order to put our case forward to them regarding compensating us for the work they want to do (if we give them permission) or whether we are able to prevent them from doing this.


In order for them to knock down the party wall and take off the roof we would need to remove everything from our garage and store it elsewhere. This includes work tools (which currently are hanging on our side of the party wall), expensive bikes, freezer, fridge and other normal garage storage etc. We also have a large pond behind the garage which is full of carp and all of the pump and filtration system is mounted on the inside wall of the garage so could possibly be damaged during the building work. The pond could also be contaminated by the building work and hence killing all of the fish (some of which are expensive kois).


My husband also works from home and so the building work generally would be a big problem regarding disruption etc.

They most certainly cannot remove the wall or
your roof without your consent

Ultimately, if you decide that you don't want
them to knock down the party wall and the court agrees with you, they are faced
with putting their extension alongside the party wall. I will be honest with
you and think it unlikely that they would get consent to demolish the party
wall completely because of the disruption this would cause. However strange
things sometimes happen in court and therefore I will tell you the following:...

If they did get court consent, the court cannot
compel you to let them remove your roof in the circumstances and they would
have to make arrangements to support the roof meanwhile and to ensure that your
belongings were Safe and secure by paying to have them removed into storage at
their own cost. They would be responsible to put back into good order
everything they remove and replace anything which is damaged in the removal. I
would certainly want a timescale put on this.

I think they would be liable to pay you
compensation in respect of the disruption and in addition, I think they should
have to pay any travelling that you have to undertake to go and get things out
of storage.

Any negotiation that you come to with regard to
them building a little extension for your garage is between you and them and it
depends on how valuable it is to them and how valuable it is to you.

Ultimately, I actually think that they have
little chance of doing this without your consent and I think that a court
application is likely to fail because there is nothing wrong with the wall and
it does not need replacing. They are not simply making holes in it to put beams
in which they could do under the terms of the party Wall act, they want to
knock it down completely to facilitate their extension. I don't think the court
would have any sympathy with that and it would expect them to make all the
arrangements if the only reason they are wanting this is simply for convenience
or to make their own extension bigger.

It is different if this is a wall, for example in
a loft conversion where steel beams are required to be put in because there is
no alternative. Here, there is an alternative, they build their extension 6
inches further over!

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thats helpful. Just to clarify though... their garage is attached to our garage via the party wall so to do their extension they need to knock their garage down and rebuild it which is why our garage would be affected. It would not be a matter of building their extension wall 6 cm further across. It would prevent them doing the extension altogether

Thanks for your advice

You obviously know the construction and I do not. I assume that
these are houses linked by the garages and they want to demolish the centre
wall to make it into a full width cavity wall to make it suitable to build

If that is the case, my best friend did exactly the same.

However the neighbour got him to pay for all the legalities and
got him to agree that when they came to build their extension they could use
the centre wall that he paid for without consent and they could key their
bricks into his wall.

When they eventually built their extension, they only had to pay
for a front wall, a back wall and roof and therefore they saved all the cost of
the foundations for the new centre wall under the full height of the centre
wall. That was a major benefit for the neighbours.

They had a flat roof on their garage which was 20 years old and
long past its sell by date and for the few years before they built their
extension he had the benefit of a new garage roof with new beams which were
actually suitable to provide the floor of his new extension when he actually
had it built!

Unless he had agreed to wall that, his extension which was
actually putting another floor on top of the garage was a nonstarter.


Or rather, he would have to have built the whole of his new "centre" wall on hisown land completely which would make the garage too narrow for a car. Not good

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