Neighbours’ Flue Projects over My Land – What are the Implications for my Planned Kitchen Extension?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

My house is a 16 year old three bed townhouse, second in of a block of four, and set back from my neighbours by approx 1.5m. My neighbours’ gas flue is sited at the side of their property discharging into my garden approx 1.04m from my kitchen window and at a height of 2.2m As the kitchen is very small I really need to extend it but I am not sure how I stand as this gas flue would have to be re-sited to do so.

Any advice would be much appreciated, I have read some of the forums regarding Party Wall surveyors and their charges and think it is unaffordable at the present, how else can I tackle this problem? My neighbours are tenants and I have never met their landlord.

Answers

If the flue projects over your land, the key question is whether the flue is original or a later alteration. If it was a later alteration it is a trespass and you may be able to force your neighbour to remove it by taking legal action. If it is original then it is likely to have a right to remain there.
 
The Party Wall Act gives you the right to remove anything the projects over your land to allow you to erect a new wall on the boundary although to do that you will need to serve notice. Your neighbour may consent to your notice if you can agree a solution without surveyors being involved (possibly sharing the cost of reciting the flue).

Follow-up

I have contacted my local planning and I am told that this flue is in its original position on the plans. Does that mean the owner has a right to say he is not prepared to consider any change to the position of the flue and therefore I may be unable to extend? Or because of the position onto my land he is obliged to do so?

Would there be any advantage in drawing up plans without the flue in place and then showing the owner or are the logical steps to be taken removal of the flue before any planning is considered?

Answer

Section 2(2)(g) of the Party Wall Act gives you the right to cut away anything that projects over your land; including flues.
 
You could just serve a Party Structure Notice, including the removal of the flue, and let the surveyors agree how that should be done but the ideal thing would be to discuss it with your neighbour first. If their boiler is 16 years old it is probably due for renewal anyway so rather than pay to move the flue they may prefer to use that payment as a contribution towards the cost of a new boiler.