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Ask Jeremy Aldermartin Your Own Question
Jeremy Aldermartin
Jeremy Aldermartin, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10314
Experience:  Dual qualified Solicitor and Attorney
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We have planning permission to build an extension right up

Customer Question

Hi, we have planning permission to build an extension right up to the neighbour's external wall. However, there are some passive vents on their wall. If we build all the way up to their wall, we would end up blocking their vents. Is this legally ok given we are entitled to build on our own part of the land?
JA: What are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Such as?
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: We have not built the wall yet hence we are checking
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 12 days ago.

Hi thank you for your message, please note that I will look to provide an accurate but nevertheless speedy reply to your inquiry. I will endeavour to help you today.

Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 12 days ago.

As you state legally you can build up to the boundary but you should not block their vents. I therefore recommend you speak to the neighbours to see if they could even move the vents. I trust this assists

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Many thanks! Building control suggested (because they didn't like our architect's proposal to duct out their vents on our side for fire safety reasons) that we are free to build all the way up to their way, and if blocking the vents was a consequences of us building out on our property, that would be ok.Of course we want to do the right thing and whilst these are passive vents, I wouldn't want to just block them. The neighbouring property is owned by housing association and their response time is very very long. We are as you can imagine, massively behind schedule so are keen to progress while we communicate with the owner and offer to pay for the move of the vents.However, before we proceed, I want to check what the "legal" position is as don't want to get into trouble if we are then ordered to rip out the wall we have put in!
Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 12 days ago.
Legally you are absolutely entitled to build up to the boundary even if that means blocking their vents. I trust this assists
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thank you for your reply. Is there any way to obtain your advice in a form that can be relied upon? Is there any reference to legislation or case law that you can refer us to to support this view please? Many thanks!
Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 12 days ago.

Yes, the Party Wall Etc Act 1996 provides an absolute right to build up to and on the boundary line: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/40/contents

The wider act is not relevant in your case because this is not a party wall matter but nevertheless this demonstrates the general principle.

I trust this assists