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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9339
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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About to purchase a house but it appears the neighbours

Customer Question

About to purchase a house but it appears the neighbours garage roof is attached to the garage wall of the house we're buying. Our garage wall is on the boundary. According to the current owner there's no written or verbal consent for this but it was done 30 or so years ago. What are our rights if we needed to change/rebuild/extend that wall if they are attached to it?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also should we do something before we complete on the house?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

You need the seller of the house to remedy this before you exchange contracts because it is likely to be problematical if you come to remove the garage for any reason or the crops when you sell in the same way that it has cropped up now.

After more than 20 years of this being in place without consent or objection, the neighbouring property will have acquired an easement under the Prescription Act firstly to have the roof attached and secondly to have support from the wall. Therefore, if you were to remove the wall, you are removing the support.

This easement needs to be formalised for the seller needs to provide an indemnity policy against the lack of easement. They may simply refuse to do that and have the cost and the delay. It only costs a few hundred pounds so it’s unlikely.

It will not help however if you want to remove the garage and remove the support because you will have to provide more support. This is a good reason for a price reduction although it’s up to the seller whether they agree to reduce the price or simply say “take it or leave it”.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please don’t forget to rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for this, the only part I'm not completely understanding is this :
"This easement needs to be formalised for the seller needs to provide an indemnity policy against the lack of easement."Could you clarify that part please?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

At the moment the neighbour has an undocumented right (lack of easement) to support from the garage. It appears that they simply fastened theirs to their neighbours, so that their own garage only needed to be built with 3 walls instead of 2.

This isn’t an issue provided you agree between you what’s happening and provided in the future, if you come to sell, your buyer does not raise this as a query. That’s why I suggest that you get the seller who is obviously keen to sell, rectify and to create a formal deed in respect of the easement for the neighbour to have the support for their garage. There is no way unfortunately you can support if the neighbours decide to claim the easement after 20 years, under the Prescription Act

F E Smith and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** *****We'll be asking for them to create a formal deed, but if not then to provide an indemnity policy against the lack of easement. Regarding that, is there anything specific we should be asking to be included in the Indemnity policy to cover any future issues regarding the garage attachment and what would now be a party wall?Sorry for the additional question... I have rated you five stars.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the rating. Appreciated.

The indemnity policies have standard wording which covers virtually every eventuality. They come off a block policy and the sellers solicitor usually will self issue the certificate and simply send the premium to the insurance company. The seller solicitor will send the draft certificate, before paying the premium, to your solicitor for approval.

The procedure is very common and not the least bit out of the ordinary.

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