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My Neighbour's Home Improvements: Can I Object?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 14 Oct 2019 | 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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My neighbour has put his extension roof slope in my garden when it rain fast all the water comes in my garden can he do that .
Yasir - 14-Oct-19 @ 7:36 AM
My neighbours have built a Pd extension which over shadows my garden and conservatory. Council have said there is nothing I can do. Just need some advice really as to what I can do.
Dodger - 3-Sep-19 @ 5:48 PM
My neighbour has built an e tension that over shows my garden and my conservatory. They didn't advise me that they were doing this. As it was PD.The council have said there is nothing I can do. Is there any thing I can do about this. Thanks
Trish - 3-Sep-19 @ 5:45 PM
Our side of the house passageway between our garden and the front of the house lies between neighbor’s garage wall and our house wall. We both have detached houses. The original passage gate in the front is already using her garage wall for main fixing post, which was built by the main builder from 1978. We want to construct a UPC canopy above this 20 feet passageway where our 3 garbage bins are placed. This canopy will need to use her exterior garage wall for top fixing, about 4 in numbers. Can our neighbor object the building of this canopy? Cost of this canopy will be about £1,000 and it will be built by a professional builder.
Babs - 27-Aug-19 @ 7:42 AM
My neighbour in a semi detached house reconfigured his house (somehow this passed council building regulations!) and moved his kitchen to the front of the house. His kitchen is now next to our living room and he has placed his washing machine on the party wall between our houses. We now have to listen to his very noisy, room vibrating, washing machine on a two hour spin cycle. It is like it's in the room with us. Council are no help as say it's a party wall civil issue. Neighbour is horrible so probably did this on purpose.
Bill - 2-Aug-19 @ 9:54 AM
Hi I was wondering if there is anyone hat could help me out with my question. We have a semi detached house which the previous owners had extended with a loft extension. We have just had a baby and could do with extra space downstairs and would like to have an extension on the back of our house. The extension would be 4m out if we could get planning permission or 3m out if not which I believe does not need planning permission. The only problem is we have spoken to our neighbour next door, (who has had a double extension on the side of his house) and have told him what we would like to do to be neighbourly. He’s said he wants to see the plans and thinks it will be a problem due to light! (We have sun more at the bottom of the gardens not really where the extension would be anyway). I would like to know where we stand with this, I know he could not agree to going 4m out but if we don’t need planning for 3m could we go ahead even if he tries to stop us and say that his light/view is affected? If anyone could help that would be great. Thanks
millsybaby - 22-Jun-19 @ 9:31 AM
Hi My neighbour owns a large piece of land at the side of my property and a smaller piece to the rear overlooking our back garden. Along the boundary line is a 2ft high fence with a variety of trees on my neighbours side forming a natural barrier. At the back of the property we have added 4ft trellis to the top of the fencing to deter our whippet from jumping the fence as the property is on a main road. We now know that they are not prone to leaping heights as is the whippet trait. The neighbour felled one of his fir trees on the boundary line today and advised us that he was employing a gardener to tell the rest of the trees on the boundary line. He then advised he was intending on removing all fencing panel along our boundary line at the side and back and replacing them with a 6 foot high solid fence. This would make our small back garden very oppressive. It may impact light to our side window in a new extension we have just had built It would cancel any view we would have whilst using our back garden It would cancel any view from the French doors and patio area outside of the new extension The neighbour lives 40 minutes away. When asked the reasoning for the height of the fence he replied, because I can He then said it was for security as he didn't want anyone coming over our side of the property over a 2ft fence onto his land however I pointed out that access could easily be gained via his metal fence on the main road right next to our own front gate. The concern I have is that we have spent £60000 on a new extension and we are currently revamping the back garden and then will go into lay a new drive and revamp front garden with a seating area where we can see across the fields. The fence will take this away from us My husband is a retired firefighter and a vulnerable adult who suffers with PTSD symptoms anxiety and depression. He has become agoraphobic so the house and the garden is his safe haven but he will feel suffocated with very high fencing around the boundary because the rear garden is small. Is there anything we can do? The deeds are silent to the boundary affected. They show we are responsible for the left side and front boundary if we were stood at the front of our property looking out to the road. Regards Lea
Lea - 22-Jun-19 @ 2:21 AM
Terraced house with covered alley way between the two houses. Neighbour extended hse so to the left of me is blank wall until on sat installed on wall 3 air con units one of the fans near my bedroom window .I told them they were unsightly and poss noisey when turned he has refused to move them to the back of his hse or to lower them down the wall contacted building regs and they have passed to planning . I dont know what to do next or if I have any rights . They are unsightly and intrusive will it affect the value of my home . We have never complained about anything in the past to our neighbours
Sadlee - 18-Jun-19 @ 7:53 PM
We have a shared drive between six people using it for their garages, now on one side an outside toilet has been built making the drive look awful it is not in keeping with the brick built house but is covered in cladding, after having my house valued was horrified to find out that it devalued my house because of the appearance of it ! Can I do any thing ?
Floss - 31-May-19 @ 6:44 AM
hii our neighbours and previous owners both have done extension along party wall by mutual agreement. they have felt roof on their extension, ours is a glass conservatory. We moved in about 2 yrs ago. our conservatory roof is now leaking and the leak turns to waterfall during heavy rains. we need to replace the roof, we r planning to get fiberglass roof with skylights. for this we need to build a wall along party wall - along our neighbours extension to rest beams om which the new roof will pitch. building control have given their approval but our neighbour is objecting big time.his main issue is we shouldnt touch his roof. to do so, we have to build our side of wall seperatly. about half a foot inside our boundary line whilst our neighbours extension sits bang on party wall. i m soo annoyed i have to loose almost a foot along the length of our existing conservatory just to please our neighbours. i m not too keen to do that. what r my legal rights and other options
deea - 12-Feb-19 @ 4:19 AM
My neighbour has been converting her basement for residential purposes. I understand no planning permission is required. The problem is that the work has been going on for over five years - on and off. It starts without warning from early morning to evening. The hammering, drilling and sound and vibration and smell aside there is the dust and filth and mice and cockroaches this forces into our house. Then, all of a sudden, the work stops for weeks and months. It starts all of a sudden and this length of work is affecting our health. Can we do anything?
Mohammed - 1-Feb-19 @ 4:04 PM
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
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