9:20 PM 10/17/2011
We are nearing the construction phase of our renovation. A recent survey revealed that our neighbor's extension probably shares a party wall with our illegal extension. (The extension is an 8 foot "room" that goes into backyard.) And, their extension is on our property. I'm wondering if anyone has dealt with a similar situation. I want to approach it now so we aren't hit with unexpected costs, situations, and/or bad neighborly relations during and after renovation. Thanks for any tips!
Are you sure it is illegal?
9:40 PM 10/17/2011 | 0 Votes
Sometime4s calling attention to something will create a sore spot, where none previously existed. My parents had a fence that was there long before they ever bought the house.. and long before the neighbors ever bought the house. Because the homes were on different levels, the logical place to build the fence was along a cement line that had been poured sometime in the past. This cement line, as it turns out - didn't follow the exact property line. It came to my parent's attention while they werehaving other work done, and they decided to bring it up with the neighbors... figuring on doing the right thing, and letting them know. Turned into a huge, ridiculous mess, with hurt feelings on both sides, over 6 inches of yard. Silly really, and had my parent's not mentioned it... who can say what would have happened eventually, but it certainly wouldn't have backfired, nor have happened right at that time.
Also - i'm not sure what the exact issue is here... Are you wanting to confront them about being on your property, and are worried about your own illegal extension being a problem? Or are you simply looking to inform them as neighbors?
If the first - let me ask you this.. if you hadn't known.. would it bother you? If we're talking small amounts - does it matter?. If it's serious square footage - by all means rectify it.... but if its a battle of inches - don't be "that neighbor"
If you're just doing the right thing and being a good neighbor - don't bother.. it'll blow up in your face, IMO.
12:36 AM 10/18/2011 | 0 Votes
also - depending on how long it's been on your property unchallenged - they might have an actual claim to it. There's a squatters law appeals process that can sometimes result in property lines being re-drawn after a challenge.
12:39 AM 10/18/2011 | 0 Votes
If you take down your side of the extension, you are responsible for making the newly exposed wall weatherproof. Beyond that, there probably isn't much liability. Most likely there are no common structural elements other than the wall separating the two extensions.
If you WANT to take down your side, then you should have no problem doing so. If you're doing it because you think you have to be cause you suspect it's not legal, then there are some easy ways to see if it actually is. If there's even the slightest chance your building was ever used as a three-family or more, then try going to http://bit.ly/jjvnmb to see if your property has an I-Card. Sometimes these show a plan of the building, and might show the extension. If not, you can also get sanborn tax maps from EDRNET.com. Either of these will prove whether or not the extension is legal, or maybe just grandfathered. You might be surprised and find out it's legal. Often, when many houses have the same extensions, we find that they are original or were all added at the same time. If before 1961, then chances are you can keep it.
9:27 AM 10/18/2011 | 0 Votes
What is on your property? The party wall or the actual extenstion?
As a matter of law, neither of the adjoining owners has the right to destroy or remove a party wall. If it's the party wall thats "encroaching" on your property, I think you'll just have to deal with it.
Just because you didn't see any department of buildings files, doesn't mean it's illegal. Did you check the I-Card?
9:35 AM 10/18/2011 | 0 Votes