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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10585
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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My neighbours are about the build an extension on their house.

Resolved Question:

My neighbours are about the build an extension on their house. Their house is 1.5 metres from mine. They've asked me to sign a consent form. They say they need me to sign the consent form otherwise in 14 days' time we're deemed to be in dispute. My concern is that a blunder by one of their builders will cause problems with the structure of my house. We are located on a hill. It's an Edwardian house. They are planning to dig three metres under ground. However I'm concerned about signing the consent form and then not being covered financially by them or their insurers if a mistake is made and it has ramifications for my house. They have given me plans to look at. But I'm not a structural engineer or an architect. I have no idea what I'm looking at. They have mentioned to me that their insurer would cover the cost of any accident. They have told me they will accept all liability in the case of damage caused to my home by their work. However they have signed no legal forms accepting liabiliy. We haven't seen their insurance details. And they are suggesting that perhaps their surveyor comes over to take photos just in case of accident - but how do you take before and after photos - though I'm sceptical about this: it feels like tokenism, albeit well-intended. Alternately they are saying we could hire our own surveyor to go over their surveyor's plan.
Could you please advise me as to the standard steps I should take to minimise my exposure to risk when signing their consent form - I don't want to offend my friends next door, but I do need to enforce some sense of liabiliy should my own house fall in as a consequence. Please advise. Many thanks.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

I am Al and am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

The legislation covering this proposed works is covered under the Party Wall Act 1996.

This Act has been specifically designed to protect people, like yourself, whereby a neighbour is planning excavation work/extensions near to the boundary.

If you consent to these works, without taking it further, you are leaving yourself open.

It would be normal (and I am sure your neighbours have been advised accordingly) for you NOT to consent to the proposed works without first taking advice from a Surveyor.

Unless you sign the consent form, the following process occurs:

  • A Surveyor or Surveyors is/are appointed to determine a fair and impartial Award, either:
    • An 'Agreed Surveyor' (someone acceptable to all parties).
      or
    • Each party appoints their own Surveyor to represent the individual parties.
    The good news is that the party undertaking the work has to pay all of the fees, with the exception being where the owner of the adjoining property (yourself) calls on the Surveyor unnecessarily.
  • the appointed Surveyor will make sure that your property and interests are protected.
  • The Agreed Surveyor, or the individual Surveyors jointly, will produce an Award (a schedule of works to be carried out) which must be fair and impartial

I would therefore recommend that you follow this above process, and don't feel that you should just sign the consent form.

I hope this helps and answers your question.

Kind Regards

Al

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you. And normally how much would my neighbours appointment of a surveyor on our behalf cost them? Would it be wise for them to use their existing surveyors or does this have to be a new independent surveyor? Many thanks.

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi,

It's hard for me to give you a figure on the fees- it all depends on how soon you reach an agreement with your neighbour. It is usual nowadays for their Surveyor to act for both parties, this reducing fees- I would say it will probably cost your neighbours an extra £750-£1,000 if you instruct their Surveyor to act for you also. Although this may sound a lot, I am sure that your neighbours will already have been advised of this and that it would be normal for you to instruct the Surveyor, so please don't feel guilty!

I hope this assists.

Kind Regards

Al

Aston Lawyer and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi,

Can I assist you any further?

If not, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer.

Kind Regards

Al