Homes are a large financial asset, and it's only natural to want to protect the value that you've invested over the years.
Finding out that your neighbour is going to have significant work done to their property can be distressing news. Not only could building work have an impact on your daily life for a significant period of time, but what happens if their extension has a longer term impact on your property? Will big changes to next door devalue your home?
In this article we'll look at whether an extension next door could impact the value of your house, along with some of the things you can do to protect your interests if your neighbour is planning large works.
Whether a neighbouring extension impacts the value of your home will depend largely on the type and size of the extension.
For example, a small single storey extension on the back of your neighbour's house is unlikely to have as large an impact on your home as a two storey side extension that comes right up to your property boundary.
An extension might affect the value of your home if:
Extensions that bring a house closer to another can impact the privacy of each property. These are both things that estate agents and surveyors take into account when assessing the market value of a property.
Large extensions, or multiple storey extensions can block sunlight from entering nearby homes, reducing the amount of natural light you get in your house or garden. Natural light is a key selling point for many homes because it improves quality of life, and makes spaces nicer places to be.
If an extension has a negative impact on the overall aesthetic of the neighbourhood - it's in a bright colour, or a style that is completely different to the other buildings on the road - it can reduce the appeal of the area for potential buyers. This in turn can devalue the properties in the area.
If your next door neighbour's works change or impact how you can access your home, or your parking options it's likely to have an effect on it's value.
In some cases a neighbour's renovations could actually improve the value of your home. By setting a precedent for what renovations are allowed, their extension could demonstrate what potential there is to improve your home, and therefore make it more desirable for potential buyers.
Interested in finding out how much your property is worth right now? Our free, online valuation tool combines the latest property data with information you input about your home to give you a quick estimate of how much your home is worth. Check it out now.
No, you can't sue your neighbour if the value of your property decreases after they've built an extension.
You may be able to to submit a complaint to your local council if you believe the works haven't been completed in line with the latest building regulations.
And, if you believe their extension has been built without the proper permissions, you may be able to launch a legal complaint. This process can be incredibly time consuming and expensive, so is not usually recommended except in specific cases. If you're considering taking this course of action, we'd recommend talking to a specialist first to see whether you have a case worth pursuing, and to get a sense of the potential costs and time scale involved in fighting it.
Not all extensions require planning permission.
Permitted development rights allow you to do certain things to your home without having to apply to the council for permission. There are restrictions of the size and scope of these works, and all construction has to be completed in line with the latest building regulations. But, it does mean that your neighbour may not have to ask permission before getting started on building an extension to their house.
Types of extensions that fall under permitted development rights include:
Adding one storey to a single storey house
A two storey extension can be added to a houses with more than one storey, as long as the total height of the house doesn't exceed 18 metres
Side extensions of less than four metres in height, and less than half the width of the original house
Rear extensions of less than four metres in width on a detached house, or less than three metres if a semi-detached or terraced property
If you live in the conservation area, or your neighbour's house is listed, they will still have to apply for planning permission from the council, even if their proposed works fulfil the permitted development right criteria.
Note: Even if your neighbour's renovations are allowed under permitted development rights, they'll still need to let you know about any works that impact your 'party wall'. A 'party wall' is any shared wall, fence, or boundary. Read more about this, here.
You're unlikely to be able to completely stop your neighbour building their extension.
However, you should be able to have your views are heard before they get started on a large building project. If your next door neighbour has to apply for planning permission you'll have the opportunity to submit comments and objections before the work starts.
If your neighbour has applied for planning permission, you should receive a letter detailing their proposed works.
You'll be able to comment or make objections to their plans online, through the Planning Portal. You can access this through your local council's website. Once on the planning portal, search for the application using the number quoted in the letter, or your neighbour's address. You'll then be able to select their planning application and add comments.
Normally, neighbours and locally interested parties have up to three weeks to leave comments and objections on planning applications. The council will then review the proposal, along with the objections, and come to a decision on whether to allow the works to go ahead.
If their planning application is rejected, your neighbour will have the opportunity to appeal, or to modify their application in line with the comments received and resubmit it for approval.
If you're planning to object to a local building project, it's not enough to just express your discontent. You'll need to provide the council with clear and reasonable objections.
Some common objections that your local council will accept include:
If the proposed extension will reduce your access to natural light
A loss of privacy
If the extension could cause accessibility issues
If the proposed building is environmentally unfriendly
If the design of the building is out of context with the rest of the neighbourhood, for example the materials used, or the style, is very different from those used on the rest of the nearby properties
Objections that will not be considered by the council include:
Loss of view
Potential damage to property value
Private issues between neighbours, such as boundary disputes, or damage to property
Problems caused by the construction work, such as noise
If these issues are of concern to you, it's important to frame them within the context of the types of objections the council can intervene in. For example, if you're worried that your property will be devalued, include reasons why. Is it because the overall appeal of the neighbourhood will decline if the design is put through? Or is it because the level of privacy and natural light your home enjoys currently will be reduced?
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