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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Our neighbors have started building work without giving notice

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Our neighbors have started building work without giving notice or a party wall agreement being in place. This has resulted in damage to our house. We have been told we can not have the party wall agreement retrospectively. Whilst they will repair the damage this leaves us with no future protection if for example these repairs as substandard. Party walls direct have told me they have broken the law and I need advice but I can't find a local law firm that is interested. Is there any sort of legal agreement we can demand in lieu of the party wall to provide us with future cover on the repairs?

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Has the work been completed please?

Customer: Hi
Customer: the chimney has been removed and they are part way thri
Customer: ough a
Customer: through a loft conversation. They have now stopped until we resolve this.
Customer: our chimney roof and flank wall are damaged and we have taken photos
Joshua :

thank you. if the neighbours have commenced work without serving the appropriate party wall notice and your agreeing to the same or in default of which obtaining a party wall award, then it is possible for you to obtain an injunction to order them to cease any further work until such time as the above has been complied with. From what you say, they have voluntarily agreed to cease work and so on injunction may not be required. Once work is being completed, it is not possible to retrospectively applied for an injunction order for that work to be removed nor is it possible to retrospectively obtain a party wall agreement or award and so time is of the essence in respect of taking action in respect of works being carried out. In respect of such works that have yet to be completed, you can require your neighbour to serve upon you a party wall notice to enable you to appoint a surveyor. Certainly, you can contact a party wall surveyor to intervene under the provisions of section 10 the party Wall act irrespective of their failure to serve a notice

Joshua :

none of the above is of assistance in respect of any works they have already completed however...

Customer: They
Joshua :

In respect of any damage you discover that has been caused to your property which you reasonably believe was caused by the neighbours works carried out without a party wall notice, the case of Roadrunner Properties Limited v (1) John Dean (2) Suffolk and Essex Joinery Limited [2003] EWCA Civ 1816 is material. This has provided more weight to the Act than the legislation itself affords. I this case a neighbour had reason to believe that damage had been caused by building works recently completed to the adjacent property, namely chasing into the wall using a heavy duty drilling tool. The case decided that the burden of proof would be reversed if the building party had failed to serve a notice and so the builder had to prove that the damage had not been caused by them rather than the normal situation where the claimant would have to reasonably prove the neighbour had caused the damage in order to claim.

Joshua :

Accordingly this places you in a strong position in relation to any damage you claim has been caused to your property as it is they that must disprove what you say rather than the normal position of you proving that they have caused such damage in relation to party wall works without notice.

Customer: The neighbor is willing to make the repairs. Our concern is over the longer term for example if we get damp six months down the line as the flank wall hasn't been repaired adequately.
Joshua :

If this is the case you can rely on the decision in relation to Roadrunner Properties and simply claim that the works have caused damage X Y and Z to your property. you do not have to produce any evidence of your claims the neighbours would have to disprove what you say as a consequence of the above decision therefore this places you in a very strong position in the event that you had to pursue a claim against the neighbours for future damage

Joshua :

Are you happy with the information I have provided to you above or is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer: Thank you
Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi sorry one further question. Where would we stand in the future if the neighbour had moved out any we have issue with our property because of the damage they have caused now?
that is a good question . the act gives liability to the building owner and therefore I cannot see any immediate obstacle to future owners being similarly liable. the current owners have to disclose works carried out and the lack if a party wall notice being served in standard disclosure so any new owners will be made aware of the position albeit not necessarily the implications unless their solicitor advises them