My neighbour has built on our party wall without consent. What can I do?
The best option for your overall wellbeing would be to attain a sense of Zen-like calm
If you cannot let the issue rest, the matter of crossing the party line without consent becomes a legal matter. Photograph: iStock
My neighbour has built on our party wall. I asked the builder to stop building as I had not agreed to this. My neighbour never asked me if it was okay to raise it, became very abusive towards me and put the wall up anyway. What are my rights?
Noel Larkin replies: This scenario is all too familiar. Regrettably the red mist can descend when discussions over raising boundaries start. The fact there can sometimes be confusion over where the actual boundary lies can add to an already tense situation.
In this case you seem sure the wall being built on is a party structure. In other words the wall is jointly owned by you and your neighbour and your consent would be needed to raise it.
It sounds like the work is now complete. Your neighbour’s decision to push on with the works despite your protestations and without consent leaves this matter unresolved between you. This is an unpleasant position to be in. The alteration of or interference with a boundary fence can have a direct impact on neighbourly relations. To turn a blind eye now will allow things to fester.
The negative feelings you have about the extension are understandable particularly as you have not agreed to this and your objection was ignored. A quiet life is enhanced by good relations with your direct neighbours. The route to a satisfactory resolution may be in reviewing the actual impact of raising the wall on your property. The type of extension you describe, where this involves raising the shared wall, is a very standard type of development. This simple type of development rarely has any significant impact on the adjoining property.
The preferred option for your overall wellbeing in this scenario would be for you to attain a sense of Zen-like calm.
But that’s often easier said than done. If you cannot let the issue rest, the matter of crossing the party line without consent becomes a legal matter and is termed a trespass. You can ask that a trespass be removed.
I have seen neighbours lose many years, spend vast amounts of money on legal and professional fees and become embittered by the experience. In most cases the disagreement was rooted in an emotive objection to simple works.
Discuss the matter with your solicitor and talk to your local chartered building surveyor. They will be able to compile a report for your legal advisers and help you assess if the works will have any negative impact on your property.
A cost-benefit analysis with potential outcomes should also be undertaken.
Noel Larkin is a chartered building surveyor and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie