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My Neighbour's Home Improvements: Can I Object?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 20 Aug 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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Hello, our neighbours have a bungalow and without saying anything to us under ? permitted development as no planning application have built an aprox 45/50 foot extension for their 40 year old son, girlfriend, kids and dog with seems like hidden front door which has been ,ade to look like shed behind security gate separate front door, separate kitchen and separate bathroom. They are noisy, inconsiderate and selfish and now we cant use our garden due to noise etc. Now we have been made to feel like we don't want to live here and has caused us untold stress and thinking of moving. What can we do and is this right? Have called planning enforcement at council and they say under PD could be! Initially they had 6 foor extension which we thought with the noise they were pulling down and rebuilding but had lots coverage with trees etc. They are very sneaky and when approached woman had cheek to say she didnt know what was going on! Before you know it son and family installed in there! dont know where we stand as council don't inspire hope!
boo - 20-Aug-18 @ 7:25 PM
My neighbour is doing a loft conversionthat doesn't require planning permission, as it is within the restrictions on extra size and not being above chimney height. However, it will most definitely block the light to my bathroom and spare bedroom, and means i won't get sun on the bottom of the little garden I have. I also already get a lot of noise through the walls and floors (3 young children), and am really concerned about added noise from floors above/at the side of my bedroom. However, as it isn't going through a formal planning application, I don't know how I can put my objections forward (other than just a conversation - which they will clearly not do anything about, as they have already told me the extension won't affect me at all and is 'no big deal'). Is there any way I can raise objections to a third party? They have also brought the papers round for me to sign under the party wall act, and were very abrupt when I asked to see plans - although have since shared them. I am thinking of asking for a survey to come round before signing the party wall . Advice welcome. I am really worried about it.
Worried - 14-Jul-18 @ 6:48 PM
Our neighbour came in this morning to tell us they are having a roof extension. The roof is going to add another storey to their townhouse of three floors in a row of 6 1965's townhouses. They are going to be the only one having this roof extension and also having their house ground floor extended by 2.5 metres in a 9.1 metres garden. This is going to affect us a lot as we'll lose our light in our garden. All the gardens in this row of townhouses are south facing.The whole work in the house will affect us as they are going to have internal staircase put in to the roof extension, made their garage which is at the front of their house into another bedroom. The extended ground floor two bedrooms will be made into a massive kitchen and dining room. They already have five bedrooms with a family of four (two adult and two young kids). Both my partner and I work mostly at home. These neighbours are planning to move out for 6 months and we will be here to endure all the disturbance. Part of our garden will be ruined as the extension will be on the party walls.How can we object to this? Please help us.
Good Neighbour - 14-Jul-18 @ 11:36 AM
My neighbour applied last year for planning permission to build a double former on his home which is adjacent to mine he gained permission from the council but do they have to do anything else regarding our property As we have heard nothing else about the build since permission was granted until this morning when he spoke to my husband and said work would start today is there anything else he should have done before this
Clumsy - 5-Jul-18 @ 3:25 PM
littlelegs - Your Question:
Our neighbour replaced her extension with a slightly higher 1.This extension now sits above our felt line on our bricked utility building.Since her son carried this new work out on her extension our roof has leaked and now has got to a point where our roof needs replacing.Here lies the problem due to her extension sitting above our felt edge our roofer cannot gain access to all the old felt and to carry out the replacement roof.Also it appears she has fastened her roof support beam along our fascia board which our roof joist runs along.We've asked our neighbour to remove her roof support brackets off our fascia and to also take a panel off her roof so we can get to our own roof but she is now avoiding contact with us.Her son previously told us he had cut some of our felt to he could fit his mothers extension roof.We do not want him to do the same to our planned new roof incase this is what is causing the leaking.Her extension has had no planning permission.

Our Response:
This is something you will need to resolve via the civil courts/legal system really if you can't manage to come to an agreement with your neighbour. If you think the extension needed planning permission - give your planning department a call and report it.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Jul-18 @ 12:26 PM
Our neighbour replaced her extension with a slightly higher 1.This extension now sits above our felt line on our bricked utility building.Since her son carried this new work out on her extension our roof has leaked and now has got to a point where our roof needs replacing.Here lies the problem due to her extension sitting above our felt edge our roofer cannot gain access to all the old felt and to carry out the replacement roof.Also it appears she has fastened her roof support beam along our fascia board which our roof joist runs along.We've asked our neighbour to remove her roof support brackets off our fascia and to also take a panel off her roof so we can get to our own roof but she is now avoiding contact with us.Her son previously told us he had cut some of our felt to he could fit his mothers extension roof.We do not want him to do the same to our planned new roof incase this is what is causing the leaking.Her extension has had no planning permission.
littlelegs - 3-Jul-18 @ 12:28 PM
Summer - Your Question:
Hi ,please can you help I live in a link detached property with my neighbours bathroom joining on to one of my bedrooms,they have started to brick up both ends of ther diveway intending to make underneath there bathroom in to a room actually adjoining the new room to the wall witch is on the other said of my livening room do they need planning permission to do this.we have an air brick witch currently Leeds on to ther drive.

Our Response:
We don't really know the answer to this as we can't picture the extension from your description. Talk to them abojut it and ask what will happen to your air brick as a starter.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Jun-18 @ 2:50 PM
Hi ,please can you help I live in a link detached property with my neighbours bathroom joining on to one of my bedrooms,they have started to brick up both ends of ther diveway intending to make underneath there bathroom in to a room actually adjoining the new room to the wall witch is on the other said of my livening room do they need planning permission to do this.we have an air brick witch currently Leeds on to ther drive.
Summer - 27-Jun-18 @ 9:11 PM
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
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