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My Neighbour's Home Improvements: Can I Object?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 16 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Planning Permission Permission Work

UK law does support the adage that an Englishman’s home is his castle, so in most cases your neighbour is perfectly entitled to add to and take away from his property at will, so long as the adaptations that he makes don’t impinge on your own castle!

It’s perfectly acceptable to make minor changes to your property without planning permission, by putting up walls and fences, for example. This sort of work is classed as part of your 'permitted development rights'.

In October 2008, these rights were extended so that they cover more building projects. The sort of work that can now be carried out without having to apply for permission includes:

  • Conservatories
  • Home extensions
  • Installing solar panels
  • Roof alterations
  • Laying patios and driveways

Some of the work, such as conservatories and extensions, does have to comply with regulations that take into account the dimensions or the position. If you think Your Neighbour's Work Doesn't Comply With Regulations, you can check the legal position on the UK Government Planning Portal website.

Projects that do Need Planning Permission

  • Extending a flat or maisonette
  • Dividing off part of your house to be used as a separate home (self-contained flat, for example)
  • Building a completely separate house in your garden
  • Dividing off part of your home to use as business or commercial premises, like a workshop, or adding a parking space for a commercial vehicle
  • Anything that could obstruct the view of road users
  • Anything that might need a new or wider access to a trunk or classified road

Loft Conversions

Under the new rules, you no longer need permission for conversions that don't exceed 50 cubic metres, if you live in a detached or semi-detached home and the conversion will not go within 20cm of the eaves. However, any work your neighbour does which might impact on the structural strength or support of any party wall (a wall that sits on the boundary line between you) must be notified to you in writing, giving you a chance to inspect the plans and make sure they don’t impinge on your property.

Party walls are covered by the Party Wall Act of 1996, which clarifies the procedures that anyone has to follow if they intend to make any changes to a party wall. It says that any works carried out to a party wall have to be agreed in writing at least two months before the work starts. If you’re the neighbour being notified, you have a duty under the law to not be ‘unduly obstructive’, so if you have a reason for objecting to the work, it has to be valid, and can’t just be that you don’t want to put up with the noise of the workmen, for example!

Conservatories and Extensions

Around 60% of conservatories will need planning permission due to their size and location. If the planned conservatory takes up more than 50% of the available land, or faces a road, then it’s going to need to be approved. If it’s being built on the side elevation, it’s not allowed to be more than 50% of the total height of the house without permission. There are also regulations that set out the total allowable height and depth of a conservatory, depending on whether the property is detached or semi detached. You can find all these regulations on the Planning Portal.

Extensions are also subject to similar regulations, and again if your neighbours planned work falls within the guidelines there is no legal need for him or her to ask your permission or seek planning permission.

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Hamsy - Your Question:
My Neighbour is a councillor and he has been granted permission of more than a 40% percent extension on his property stating there will be 3 disabled people living there. The extension has blocked a view of trees and open filed I had for 30 years is there anythi g I can do. I did o next to the planning but they wrote to five houses and the other neighbours did not understand the paperwork.

Our Response:
Once the planning permission has been granted it's difficult to get anything done about it but talk to the planning officer and ask. You don't actually have any right to a view and it's not often a reason for a planning refusal.
ProblemNeighbours - 20-Jun-18 @ 2:53 PM
My Neighbour is a councillor and he has been granted permission of more than a 40%percent extension on his property stating there will be 3 disabled people living there. The extension has blocked a view of trees and open filed I had for 30 years is there anythi g I can do. I did o next to the planning but they wrote to five houses and the other neighbours did not understand the paperwork.
Hamsy - 16-Jun-18 @ 8:55 PM
Kirby - Your Question:
Hi my neighbour rents her property from the council and mine is owned by me. Yesterday while I was at work she drilled into my flat roof securing a large canopy that goes all the way across to her outhouse. I’m afraid this may in time pull the metal (that she has drilled into) and part of my roof off if it gets windy. Help!!! What action can I take ? Thanks

Our Response:
Talk to the council first of all...they may be able to take action against their tenant as she her actions may have been in contravention of a tenancy agreement. They may be able to rectify the problem and re-charge the tenant. If not, you may need to think about taking legal action in the civil courts.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-May-18 @ 2:19 PM
Hi my neighbour rents her property from the council and mine is owned by me. Yesterday while I was at work she drilled into my flat roof securing a large canopy that goes all the way across to her outhouse. I’m afraid this may in time pull the metal (that she has drilled into) and part of my roof off if it gets windy. Help!!! What action can I take ? Thanks
Kirby - 14-May-18 @ 12:33 PM
Haitch - Your Question:
My neighbour built a chicken coop out of 6ft trellis panels right against our boundary - we didn’t have any objection at the time as it was trellis so light could pass through. They’ve now added a corrugated bitumen roof which it turns out, blocks the sunlight into our garden from late afternoon into the evening - exactly when we’d be using it during the summer. They didn’t ask if we objected, nor did they check whether it would be to our detriment. I approached them quite reasonably & said we weren’t happy & she was pretty obnoxious in response. What can we do if they won’t talk civilly to us - Is there any further action we can take? The roof has been on less than a week - we mentioned the problem as soon as we saw it. Any advice gratefully received!

Our Response:
If it's only 6 ft high, it's likely there isn't much you can do about this as the general planning rule for rear fence height is 2m. As for outbuildings planning rules state that they are permitted as long as their maximum height is 2.5 metres in the case of a buildings, enclosures or containers within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse. It's also worth checking with your planning permission to see whether there are any locally imposed rules about keeping chickens in your area.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-May-18 @ 11:13 AM
My neighbour built a chicken coop out of 6ft trellis panels right against our boundary - we didn’t have any objection at the time as it was trellis so light could pass through. They’ve now added a corrugated bitumen roof which it turns out, blocks the sunlight into our garden from late afternoon into the evening - exactly when we’d be using it during the summer. They didn’t ask if we objected, nor did they check whether it would be to our detriment. I approached them quite reasonably & said we weren’t happy & she was pretty obnoxious in response. What can we do if they won’t talk civilly to us - Is there any further action we can take? The roof has been on less than a week - we mentioned the problem as soon as we saw it. Any advice gratefully received!
Haitch - 5-May-18 @ 5:04 PM
We are about to start a loft conversion on our terraced top floor flat. Our neighbour who adjoins our party wall has objected to us walking on her roof as she has just had the roof re-tiled. We have explained that the builders will need to in order to build up the party wall and have explained (in writing also) that the builders insurance will cover any damage that happens as a result of them walking on the roof. However, she is still saying we cannot walk on her roof at all. Can you advise if we legally need her consent to walk on her roof? Or if she has to allow us to as it is essential to the works? as long as we repair any damage? Thank you
Kate - 27-Apr-18 @ 10:44 AM
We live in a link detached for which we are joined by a bedroom/bathroom to next door. This is a drive that we intend to build under the bathroom & bedroom. This will be joined onto next doors wall.
Was - 22-Apr-18 @ 1:05 PM
My neighbour has just informed me that he intends to take the adjoining hedge down between our properties and build a conservatory..my fear is I will lose all light to my lounge and outside patio area and will be looking at a brick wall as my view. What can I do?
Julie - 14-Apr-18 @ 2:28 PM
Nick - Your Question:
Hi, I m mid terrace and my neighbour wants to put a velux window in his single storey extension at the back. Betwen his extension and my house I have a terrace and also the velux window will face my back bedroom window.He also has his gas meter on his wall but on my terrace and he wants to run the pipe up the wall which is not nice for me to see on my terrace. He has no easement for the gas meter there. Can I stop him build that window and run the pipe up the wall?Many thanksNick

Our Response:
Does he have an alternative? Are you referring to a gas pipe or drain pipe? Sorry it's not clear. As for the velux, talk to your local planning department, they will tell you if there is anything that can be done.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Apr-18 @ 11:39 AM
Hi, I m mid terrace and my neighbour wants to put a velux window in his single storey extension at the back. Betwen his extension and my house i have a terrace and also the velux window will face my back bedroom window. He also has his gas meter on his wall but on my terrace and he wants to run the pipe up the wall which is not nice for me to see on my terrace. He has no easement for the gas meter there. Can i stop him build that window and run the pipe up the wall? Many thanks Nick
Nick - 9-Apr-18 @ 11:35 AM
My neighbour has erected a fence on our boundary wall without planning permission or without informing us. The fence has been built over his downspout drain which is now blocked. It can’t be unblocked as the fence is on top of drain cover. Consequently the water is now running onto my property and down side of my house. It’s turning my bricks all green. I’m terrified I’ll get damp. I’ve asked neighbours to un block it but they have refused. I’ve contacted council who say legally they can’t get involved. However the council have asked my neighbour to apply for retrospective planning permission for said fence. My question is if I object to this stating the fence is causing possible dampness to my property as a consequence of fence being built on top of downspout drain do I have any chance of any success.
Flossy - 7-Apr-18 @ 1:02 AM
Mange - Your Question:
My neighbour is erecting toilet near our kitchen in our village. Can I take objection?

Our Response:
Sorry there is not enough information here, please give more detail about the proximity of your neighbour, where their waste/sewer pipe is etc
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Apr-18 @ 3:37 PM
My neighbour constructing toilet near kitchen can I take objection
Mang - 4-Apr-18 @ 2:23 AM
My neighbour is erecting toilet near our kitchen in our village. Can I take objection?
Mange - 4-Apr-18 @ 2:21 AM
grid - 20-Mar-18 @ 1:10 PM My neighbour has erected a fence on our boundary wall without planning permission or without informing us. The fence has been built over his downspout drain which is now blocked. It can’t be unblocked as the fence is on top of drain cover. Consequently the water is now running onto my property and down side of my house. It’s turning my bricks all green. I’m terrified I’ll get damp. I’ve asked neighbours to un block it but they have refused. I’ve contacted council who say legally they can’t get involved. However the council have asked my neighbour to apply for retrospective planning permission for said fence. My question is if I object to this stating the fence is causing possible dampness to my property as a consequence of fence being built on top of downspout drain do I have any chance of any success. Flossy - 7-Mar-18 @ 12:15 PM
Flossy - 27-Mar-18 @ 6:19 PM
Sigrid - Your Question:
I live in rural area, in Cornwall. One side of my house is the road , the other is my garden and neighbours fields. Neighbours house is about 50 yards from my house at the side of the one of the fields they own, they are owners of 4 fields. Now on the field at the side of my garden they have started to use agricultural land for car parking area, they have started to remove the soil and also started to add the hardcore, noise is overwhelming. Cars , about 50 , in total are parked on the fields already, they are scrap cars. Our neighbour has few fields at the side of his house where he could keep all these cars, but he has gone for the field which does not interfere with the view from his house. We know, that he is only concealing it as a car park for a few months, and then he will start building houses in there. I have received a letter from council about objection/support , but I don't know what to write to council. My neighbour did some groundwork on his field without any permissions, obviously now he has told council (about the cars, but not his true intentions of a housing estate) When they where removing the soil my whole house was vibrating , it was unbearable, plus they never warned us of what was happening.

Our Response:
What has the council has you to object/support to? Has a planning application been submitted?
ProblemNeighbours - 23-Mar-18 @ 11:33 AM
I live in rural area, in Cornwall. One side of my house is the road , the other is my garden and neighbours fields. Neighbours house is about 50 yards from my house at the side of the one of the fields they own, they are owners of 4 fields. Now on the field at the side of my garden they have started to use agricultural land for car parking area, they have started to remove the soil and also started to add the hardcore, noise is overwhelming. Cars , about 50 , in total are parked on the fields already, they are scrap cars. Our neighbour has few fields at the side of his house where he could keep all these cars, but he has gone for the field which does not interfere with the view from his house. We know, that he is only concealing it as a car park for a few months, and then he will start building houses in there. I have received a letter from council about objection/support , but I don't know what to write to council. My neighbour did some groundwork on his field without any permissions, obviously now he has told council (about the cars, but not his true intentions of a housing estate) When they where removing the soil my whole house was vibrating , it was unbearable, plus they never warned us of what was happening.
Sigrid - 20-Mar-18 @ 3:00 PM
I live in rural area, in Cornwall. One side of my house is the road , the other is my garden and neighbours fields. Neighbours house is about 50 yards from my house at the side of the one of the fields they own, they are owners of 4 fields. Now on the field at the side of my garden they have started to use agricultural land for car parking area, they have started to remove the soil and also started to add the hardcore, noise is overwhelming. Cars , about 50 , in total are parked on the fields already, they are scrap cars. Our neighbour has few fields at the side of his house where he could keep all these cars, but he has gone for the field which does not interfere with the view from his house. We know, that he is only concealing it as a car park for a few months, and then he will start building houses in there. I have received a letter from council about objection/support , but I don't know what to write to council. My neighbour did some groundwork on his field without any permissions, obviously now he has told council (about the cars, but not his true intentions of a housing estate) When they where removing the soil my whole house was vibrating , it was unbearable, plus they never warned us of what was happening.
Sigrid - 20-Mar-18 @ 1:10 PM
My neighbour has erected a fence on our boundary wall without planning permission or without informing us. The fence has been built over his downspout drain which is now blocked. It can’t be unblocked as the fence is on top of drain cover. Consequently the water is now running onto my property and down side of my house. It’s turning my bricks all green. I’m terrified I’ll get damp. I’ve asked neighbours to un block it but they have refused. I’ve contacted council who say legally they can’t get involved. However the council have asked my neighbour to apply for retrospective planning permission for said fence. My question is if I object to this stating the fence is causing possible dampness to my property as a consequence of fence being built on top of downspout drain do I have any chance of any success.
Flossy - 7-Mar-18 @ 12:15 PM
My neighbour has done a loft conversion without the need for planning permission, the changes made are not what we were told and he has built the side of house up and the back roof is now flat, original roof was 3 sided all apex, this alteration has made my stairway dark all day now and my patio area has lost all late adternoon/eve sun, what are our rights, we raised concerns with council yet nothing has happened yet but roof now finished
Andrea - 23-Feb-18 @ 10:05 PM
My neighbours have just dropped in a party wall notice.I noticed a crack appeared in the wall after he was doing some drilling a few weeks ago, which had thought about raising with them, but after my past experience I decided it would be easier to fill when redecorating than cope with a discussion with them.When they moved in originally they employed builders who put scaffolding on my extension roof without asking.. the first thing I knew was the noise of above from my kitchen.Their builder shouted at me for stopping the workmen, two of them with jackhammers from working with most of the weight and vibration directed onto my roof.The neighbours also tried shouting at me and denying they had damaged the roof.It took months to get them to pay for a roofer to repair damaged tiles and render under the tiles.I am concerned that if anything goes wrong with this new build, they will be have as badly.I don't need the stress, I don't want to have to talk to them, as I know they be likely to be unreasonable.I am also going be seriously disrupted by building work noise, as I work from home. What can I do?
smiley - 7-Feb-18 @ 9:47 PM
Our neighbours have erected scaffolding to build a doorma loft extension however they also erected an extra bit of scaffolding 1 week later that is attached to the main scaffolding but overhangs our property over the back door and blocks our sons bedroom window. This causes me great concern because 1. They are using it to gain access to our roof and are using our roof as an platform for their builders to walk and work from. 2. Debri is falling down and we can’t go out in case we are hit. 2. Our gutter is being filled with debri. 3. We have no way of knowing if they damaged our roof. We told them to get off the roof and remove the scaffolding on our property but they said no. Can I do anything ? If we can will it be too late after the scaffolding is taken down. They also carry out building work past 10pm at night and they know we have a very young child at home
Dropski - 3-Feb-18 @ 2:54 PM
We Already have a doormat in the roof which extends full width to the party wall, Our next door neighbour would like to also put a dormer in the roof and attach to our Existing dormerand remove all hanging tiles fascia flashing guttering et cetera from the adjoining side. Are they allowed to do this?
Kirstie Elliott - 17-Jan-18 @ 7:30 AM
LL - Your Question:
Hi, our house has a fair bit of open space around the back garden, and a housing company are now about to build on one of the fields to the side. I have requested a plan of the proposed site which they kindly supplied. It shows two houses are to be built with their back gardens backing onto the side of our garden. This means that our once totally secluded and private rear garden is now going to be 100% in view of the two new properties. They haven't broke ground yet on the field, so my question is do I have any rights to ask them to alter their plans so my privacy is not affected? Thank you.

Our Response:
Privacy can some times lead to an application being refused, but often the planning committee might agree to impose conditions to alleviate the issue instead. There are various reasons for refusing an application but if you want to object, you need to come up with several valid reasons; do some research (look at your local design statement, development plan etc) and use reasons relevant rather than making it personal. Some ideas are:
Development is not in keeping with the local design statement/local area
Is ongreen belt land (check this etc) / contravenes council policies to protect wildlife, environment etc
Lack of necessary transport infractructure (access to and from development)br> Removes vital "green space" from your town
Safety issues
Destroys woodland/protected trees
etc
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Jan-18 @ 11:19 AM
Hi, our house has a fair bit of open space around the back garden, and a housing company are now about to build on one of the fields to the side.I have requested a plan of the proposed site which they kindly supplied.It shows two houses are to be built with their back gardens backing onto the side of our garden.This means that our once totally secluded and private rear garden is now going to be 100% in view of the two new properties.They haven't broke ground yet on the field, so my question is do I have any rights to ask them to alter their plans so my privacy is not affected?Thank you.
LL - 5-Jan-18 @ 10:09 AM
Jane - Your Question:
I live a semi-detached house, my neighbour has built a side extension which his son lives in and has just put in for planning to change this to a self contained dwelling.separating the garden.My question Is, does this mean mine will be classed as a terrace and how will this affect the value of my property. Can I oppose the application if the value of my property will be affected?

Our Response:
In theory this might mean yours would become a terrace. De-valuation of a neighbouring property is not necessarily a reason to refuse planning permission, so be sure to include other reasons, such as not in keeping with the rest of the properties in the road, additional parking/traffic reasons etc, when you raise your objection.
ProblemNeighbours - 3-Jan-18 @ 12:28 PM
I live a semi-detached house, my neighbour has built a side extension which his son lives in and has just put in for planning to change this to a self contained dwelling..separating the garden.My question Is, does this mean mine will be classed as a terrace and how will this affect the value of my property. Can I oppose the application if the value of my property will be affected?
Jane - 30-Dec-17 @ 5:24 PM
Suze- Your Question:
I am having a loft conversion done my neighbour who rents his property next door is complaining about the noise. His landlord has threatened me with solicitors because the neighbour is saying he will not pay landlord rent while work is going ahead and that I will need to pay him the rent.!! the neighbour has a disabled child which I have been considerate to give some quieter time in the day when the child needs to sleep but my neighbour is trying to dictate when my builder starts work I am losing 2and a half hours a day because of this, we have signed permission from both neighbours one either side for party wall and neighbour on other side has no complaints what can I do ?

Our Response:
There isn't much you can do really except try and get the work completed as quickly as possible. Hopefully you aren't doing any of this work in the evening/night time or really early in the morning? It's unlikely that any legal action would be successful in the case of noise from temporary building work.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Dec-17 @ 11:14 AM
I am having a loft conversion done my neighbour who rents his property next door is complaining about the noise. His landlord has threatened me with solicitors because the neighbour is saying he will not pay landlord rent while work is going ahead and that I will need to pay him the rent..!! the neighbour has a disabled child which I have been considerate to give some quieter time in the day when the child needs to sleep but my neighbour is trying to dictate when my builder starts work I am losing 2and a half hours a day because of this, we havesigned permission from both neighbours one either side for party wall and neighbour on other side has no complaints what can I do ?
Suze - 3-Dec-17 @ 6:53 AM
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