Can my neighbour build on my wall? Find out if they need permission

Find out if your neighbour needs permission to build on your wall <i>(Image: Getty)</i>
Find out if your neighbour needs permission to build on your wall (Image: Getty)

We have all probably had to have a conversation with our neighbours when it comes to making changes to either our houses or gardens.

From discussing extension plans you have submitted to your local council, replacing broken fence panels or digging up a bush between your properties.

Sometimes there is no hassle but other times, neighbours can do things that might get on your nerves, especially if they haven’t told you about any construction work.

But what happens when a neighbour builds on your wall? Find out if they can and when they need permission to do so, according to construction experts.

Can my neighbour build on my wall?

In short, Harding Chartered Surveyors outlines that “any work which involves or will impact the structural integrity of an existing boundary wall must be served in a written notice to you, the neighbour, at least two months before any work is due to commence.”

The experts add: “Under the Party Wall Act, any homeowner has the right to build up to the boundary line, or complete party wall works, without permission and can stretch their development to sit astride the boundary wall or line with your express permission.

“If you have an issue with the proposed works, you cannot demand it to cease – however, you can seek the services and advice of a party wall surveyor who will attend to the properties and carry out a survey on how the development should proceed.”

Additionally, work that ends “even a mere centimetre from the edge of the boundary line falls under completely different rules” and cannot be stopped.


What side of the fence am I responsible for in the UK?


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The government also says you must tell your neighbour if you want to build on or at the boundary of your two properties.

You must also tell them about other types of work if you want to:

  • work on an existing party wall or party structure

  • dig below and near to the foundation level of their property

Just some examples of this include building a new wall, cutting into a party wall, making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper, removing chimneys from a party wall or knocking down and rebuilding a party wall.