Ask The Expert: Will my neighbour's extension affect the value of my house?

 

Fiona McNulty
Friday 24 February 2012 01:00
Comments

Q. Several years ago my neighbour built an extension at the back of his property. The wall of the extension comes within a couple feet of my boundary fence. Do you think this may affect the value of my house? I don't think he got planning permission, so is it true that after a while the structure becomes legal anyway?

A. It is not possible for me to comment on the possible effect of your neighbour's extension on saleability. You will need to speak to a reputable local estate agent or qualified surveyor. Such extensions are not uncommon. There are three things that the extension should probably have complied with:

1. The Party Wall Act. This requires prior notice to a neighbour of all structures affecting the boundary structures and/or excavations within specified distances of an existing boundary structure. Unfortunately, the Act does not create a specific right of action where the requisite notice is not served.

2. Planning Acts. Unless the structure was permitted because of its size, planning consent would have been required. After four years, however, the council loses its right to take enforcement action.

3. Building regulations. Any extension, unless an exempted conservatory, must comply with building regulations.

Q. My wife and I separated some time ago and we agreed she would stay in the house with our young son. Now she wants her boyfriend to move in, which I'm not happy about. I don't want to force a sale but is there any other way I can get my money out of the house and my name off the mortgage without making my child homeless?

A. In principle, there is no reason why your wife and new partner cannot look to remortgage the property in their joint names and "buy out" your share of the property. In practice, this will depend upon their joint-income capacity and ability to secure a mortgage. More crucially, you will need to agree what your share of interest in the property is to be.

Where financial settlement agreements are made upon the breakdown of a marriage, factors such as income disparity, pension funds, savings, investments and debts must be taken into account. In many cases, this means that what's left in a house after the mortgage has been paid is not necessary shared equally. It sounds like you need to go through the figures with a specialist family lawyer to work out what you can reasonably expect to achieve.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Ask the Expert email asktheexpert@independent.co.uk. Fiona McNulty is a partner in the residential estate team team at Thrings LLP (thrings.com)

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in