My Neighbour’s Gable Wall abuts mine. Does he have the right to Raise his Wall and Insert a Flashing?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

My house was built (about 25 years ago I think) up against my neighbours Victorian house, hence his gable end abuts mine (my  roof is higher) and there is no party wall as such. There is no gap front or back and his roof is lower than mine with stepped flashing chased into my gable wall brickwork. My neighbour has applied for consent to raise his roof line (to enlarge his attic accommodation), though it would still be lower than mine.

Am I right to assume that there is no party wall – legally speaking – given that each house is virtually freestanding, and would it nevertheless be covered by the Party Wall Act? If not, who owns the stepped flashing and can my neighbour remove it from my wall without my permission or insert one with our permission? If he needs my permission and I don’t give it what are his options?

Answer

From your description there is no party wall although the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 doesn’t just relate to party wall (that’s the etc. bit). As your house was built later presumably the builder got your neighbour’s consent to dress a flashing on to his roof covering.

Regarding the proposed work – raising the line of his roof and cutting the flashing in at a higher level is covered by the Act; Section 2(2)(J). Because it is a right given by the Act he doesn’t need your permission but he does need to serve a Party Structure Notice. Upon receipt of the notice you can dissent and appoint a surveyor if you are concerned about the works – it won’t stop the work going ahead but does mean that a Party Wall Award will be produced by the appointed surveyor(s) before it commences. Your surveyor’s reasonable fee will be paid by your neighbour.