We are Planning an Extension but our New Neighbour does not Wish for us to Proceed

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

We want to extend an existing sun room building  by building a 3m x 4m extension.  We want to build this as close to the party wall as possible.  Unfortunately, the property next door has just been sold and purchased by an investor, who is going to spend a month renovating it and then is going to put it back on the market.  He doesn’t want us to do any work on our side until he has sold it, and has told us that he will not give us permission or allow us on his property to build the adjoining wall.  Obviously, we want to start our extension in a months time (giving him the 1 months notice that we are obliged to do), just when he is looking to put it back on the market.  He is thinking that he will sell it within a month, but in the current climate I don’t think he can guarantee this.
 
We thought that we could approach him and ask if he gave us permission straight away we could then start work on our extension and have the work that would affect his side completed by the time he was ready to put it back on the market.

Answer 

You do not need your neighbour’s permission to carry out work to your own property. If the work comes within the scope of the Party Wall Act then you will need to serve notice. Upon receipt of your notice the adjoining owner can either consent or dissent – if he chooses to dissent he must appoint a surveyor. If he appoints a surveyor then you must also appoint a surveyor and together they will agree an award and serve it on the owners. Once the award has been served you can commence work. If the adjoining owner consents he may choose to enforce the statutory notice period which will be either 1 or 2 months depending upon the nature of the work.
 
If the adjoining owner is determined to delay your works then he may just ignore your notice to try and stall the process. If that happens you need to send a reminder letter 15 days after the original notice requesting that he appoint a surveyor within a further 10 days – if he fails to do that you can make the appointment on his behalf and the 2 surveyors will agree and serve and award.