Loft conversions can be an extremely valuable feature for your property; adding an extra room in the house will bring in more natural light, add value to your property, and allow you room to grow. Loft conversions are a great way of creating an additional room for your home, too, though if you’re just after extra storage space, then something like a raised loft floor storage solution will be much cheaper. But, you may need to make some arrangements if you intend to modify a shared wall between you and your neighbours.
There are instances when your neighbours can intervene in your loft conversion building plans. Naturally, this is a situation that people do not always understand and can be unfamiliar with – so let’s find out: can my neighbour stop my loft conversion?
Can My Neighbour Stop My Loft Conversion?
You do not normally need permission from your neighbours for your loft conversion, nor Planning Permission from your council (as loft conversions are usually counted as “Permitted Development”, but you may need to have a Party Wall Agreement if the project is in a terraced or semi-detached property. This Act provides a structure for preventing or resolving any disputes in relation to party walls, structures, walls and excavations in neighbouring buildings. Typically the work taking place will affect the party wall due to steelwork being installed, or raising the wall to form a dormer.
However, if your loft conversion does not involve cutting into the party wall (a wall shared between you and a neighbour) for supporting any structural alterations or supporting beams, then there is little your neighbours can do to go against this.
If your loft conversion involves a party wall that is shared between you and the property next door, then you will need to consider the Party Wall Agreement. This includes a set of rules and regulations that are placed to protect your and your neighbour’s building rights. It’s vital that the agreement process is followed correctly otherwise, your neighbours can delay the project further until you both have come to a fair conclusion through a surveyor.
How Does the Party Wall Act Work?
Firstly, once you have found if you are eligible to convert your loft or not, you need to begin the party wall act.
As the new project owner has to file a notice to lay out the changes you want to make to the party wall. This is done in written documents that have to be sent at least two months before making any changes – this is so the neighbour has time to decide on your changes. If they agree then no more needs to be said, otherwise a dispute will begin and both parties will have to hire surveyors to come to an agreement.
Your surveyors will agree on a ‘party wall award’ which is a legal document stating:
- What work needs to take place
- How and when it will take place
- Who will pay for which part and how much its costing (including surveyor fees)
You may appoint a surveyor on behalf of your neighbours – only if they refuse or fail to do so themselves. Also, you may appeal this award within 14 days of receiving it and file a notice in a county court to explain this.
It’s worth noting, in relation to the question, can my neighbour stop my loft conversion? The answer is no. The main purpose of the surveyors is to resolve any upset and allow any disagreements to be settled.
What If My Property Is Detached?
If your property is detached, there is no need to make your neighbours aware of your new project. However if your conversion requires any planning permission, there is an option for anyone to report comments about the conversion. So if you were wondering, can my neighbour stop my loft conversion for a detached property, the answer is also no.
What You Must Tell Your Neighbours
You must tell your neighbour if you are planning on:
- Building on or at the boundary of 2 properties
- Working on a current party wall
This includes things like:
- Cutting into a party wall
- Making the party wall shorter, deeper or taller
- Removing any chimneys from party walls
- Knocking down the party wall
- Building a new party wall
It’s not required to tell your neighbours about plastering, replacing wiring, sockets or expanding the storage space in your loft. For more information on how to create a unique and durable storage solution for your loft, check out the LoftZone website or contact us and speak to a friendly LoftZone team member.