Other Neighbourly Matters
‘Neighbourly Matters’ refer to a collection of issues that may affect the occupiers or owners of neighbouring land or buildings. These can include rights to light, party walls, daylight and sunlight and access arrangements. There is a growing awareness of environmental issues and legal rights. Combined with this increased density of development in towns and cities means that some or all of these issues need to be considered in projects. Taking advice on these issues early in the development process can avoid costly delays and disputes later on.
Foundation Surveyors can provide professional advice on various ‘Neighbourly Matters’. Please contact us today for some free impartial advice.
Schedules of Condition
Neighbourly Schedules of Conditions are vital in order to protect the Building Owner from spurious claims of damages. This also protects the Adjoining Owner by providing a record of the fact in relation to the condition of all affected properties prior to the commencement of building works.
Although not specifically mentioned anywhere in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, it is conventional to attach a photographic and descriptive Schedule as part of a Party Wall Award.
Foundation Surveyors offer all client(s) a neighbourly Schedules of Condition survey of all affected properties.
Neighbourly Schedules of Condition are essential when the Building Owners property is within close proximity of adjoining properties which are of high architectural significance or are timeworn, which would make them more sensitive to building works and susceptible to damage.
Properties outside the notifiable distance can also succumb to damage due to the building works.
Foundation Surveyors can advise on which properties should be scheduled as part of a thorough third-party strategy to prevent spurious claims for damages.
Even when Adjoining Owner(s) consent to the Party Wall Notice(s), Foundation Surveyor always recommends that a Schedule of Condition of the adjoining property is carried out in order to safeguard both parties’ position in the event of a dispute with regards to damages.
Ascertaining Boundary Position
A boundary is a line that divides two pieces of land. A boundary may be physical, in that it is marked by a physical feature such as a fence or a wall, but it may also be legal in that it is identified in legal documents concerning the property.
Over time the exact location of a boundary may not be easily identified, due to many factors, which include fences being removed and erected in different positions.
Foundation Surveyors can work on behalf of Owners acting as expert witnesses to ascertain the boundary position. Once the boundary is determined we can also submit the new boundary plans to the Land Registry on your behalf.
We can work with the neighbour’s appointed Surveyor and collectively ascertain an accurate boundary position, which will mutually benefit the two parties.
Oversailing Scaffold and Crane Licenses
There are only two instances in property law when individuals, companies or developers can access their neighbour’s land to undertake any type of building work. One is the Party Wall etc Act 1996 and the other is the Access to the Neighbouring Land Act 1992.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 will give the Building Owner the right to carry out work in pursuance of the Act such as works to the Party structure, excavation works or works on the line of junction. The Access to the Neighbouring land Act 1992 only covers the preservation of an existing structure.
Access when required outside of the remit of the aforementioned Acts can be acquired through forms of a license between the two neighbours. When it is envisaged that access in the form of scaffold protrusion onto the neighbour’s land or an oversailing crane is required, then a license is essential.
Foundation Surveyors can help in conducting neighbouring liaison on behalf of the developer (Building Owner) and negotiating a license.
Please note that neighbours can refuse to issue a license if they so wish, which is why it is crucial to fully understand such risks at the feasibility stage.
Foundation Surveyors can help identify where access can be obtained by the aforementioned legislation and where it could be required, at the feasibility stage. We can also advise alternative options if access cannot be obtained through a license or consent.
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Rights of Way and Easements
In simple terms, an easement is a right one has over another’s land. Easements exist in several forms such as Rights of Way, easements to support, easements of light & air, and rights pertaining to artificial walkways.
There are several known ways in which an easement can be created:
- Express Grant (a deed or a grant may dictate the terms of the easement)
- Necessity (right of way may be created through necessity e.g. public right of way over a road)
- Prescription (if after 20 years a neighbour has enjoyed an “easement” not expressly granted but not disputed for 20 years then this can become an easement by prescription)
Foundation Surveyors can advise both property owners and neighbours regarding easements and the rights and obligations of parties in dispute.
In many instances, the strategy to overcome a particular construction-related problem, maybe to speak to the neighbours in order to agree to an approach, which will mutually benefit all parties involved.
This type of neighbourly liaison is usually required when the cooperation of the neighbours is required or when works to adjoining property are needed but are not covered by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
Foundation Surveyors have extensive experience in neighbourly liaison and have successfully brought contentious and complex matters to satisfactory conclusions on behalf of developers and owners of neighbouring properties.
Foundation Surveyors have successfully coordinated numerous Third-Party notification strategies; which involved sending letters to the neighbours who are in close proximity to large, complex and contentious development works.
Foundation Surveyors have successfully managed the expectations of the neighbours, which allowed the smooth running of development programs.
Section 7(1) of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 states that “A Building Owner shall not exercise any right conferred on him by this Act in such a manner or at such time as to cause unnecessary inconvenience to any Adjoining Owner or to any adjoining occupier”
Vibrations are a common cause for concern from adjacent neighbours. If ignored, complaints can lead to disputes and, in some cases; result in a claim of nuisance and the remedy of an injunction.
On large and complex schemes, it may be necessary to ensure levels of noise, vibration and dust are kept to acceptable levels.
Trigger levels can be agreed between Surveyors to avoid “unnecessary inconvenience” to Adjoining Owners and Occupiers
Foundation Surveyors have experience in coordinating the installation of vibration monitors and agreeing trigger levels, which allow the developer to carry out their development works without interruption.
Foundation Surveyors can also coordinate the installation of vibration monitors as part of a third-Party strategy if required.
Licence to Alter
When a leaseholder wishes to undertake structural alterations to their property, and those particular works are controlled under the terms of the lease; a license to alter must be acquired.
Under the terms of their lease, Leaseholders will require the freeholder’s written and formal consent to their proposed works; this consent is confirmed in the form of a licence to alter.
Foundation Surveyors can help Leaseholders obtain a license to alter, if required, to allow the unhindered completion of all pertinent building works.