I'm a lawyer – here's how far you can build onto your neighbour's property WITHOUT council permission | The Sun

A LAWYER has revealed how far homeowners can build onto their neighbour's property WITHOUT council permission.

Barrister Lynette Calder said homeowners MUST check the Land Registry to understand their property's boundary.

But many Brits may want to extend their house – potentially encroaching on their neighbours property by a few inches.

Lynette stressed that it is not legal – under any circumstances – to build onto their neighbour's land without permission.

The barrister told The Sun: "It's not yours – it is trespass.

"It can conceivably be trespass if your windows open outwards over your neighbours property.

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"It's not yours, you can’t build on it.

"How far and how much you encroach may affect the ultimate remedy your neighbour can get from the court but that remedy could include you having to remove your building and pay them damages."

A Lawful Development Certificate is legal confirmation that you have planning permission for your home and garden renovations.

Only more ambitious developments require these – and they will set you back around £1,250, including a £600 application fee.

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Otherwise, smaller cosmetic home renovations – that stay within YOUR land – may not require permission.

Lynette added: "The Land Registry is the starting point if you want to understand the boundary of your property – including things like who owns fences and any covenants affecting how you or your neighbours can use their land.

"But Land Registry plans are not usually plotted like maps and are very small scale.

"So a line on a land registry plan could be two or even more feet on the ground.

"Also the Registry is only as good as what was originally filed – sometimes many years ago – and sometimes relying on documents that are even older (hundreds of years occasionally).


"Sometimes it has all the relevant information sometimes it doesn’t.

"So if you think your neighbour is encroaching on your land – or they are asserting that you are encroaching on theirs – get the information from the registry.

"But remember even if it looks on the plan like you are right that’s not always so.

"Particularly where you are talking about a few feet either way."

Building a shed, a garden home office or a Wendy house won't normally need planning permission.

But if they're bigger than 15 sq m, are slept in or take up more than half your garden, planning permission requirements apply.

Homeowners looking to build a fence in their back garden also need to remember key rules.

For most people, two metres is the magic maximum number to consider for your fence height.

If you live next to a highway, one metre is the limit.

If you're undertaking a big garden project like uprooting a tree or building a concrete building, you might need permission for the engineering work.

Earth-moving work considered 'major' requires planning permission, but smaller projects don't.

Local authorities differ on their definition, so if you have a big project in mind it's worth consulting experts, lawyers – and possibly your neighbours – first.

Meanwhile, if you want to add external windows or if there's a planning restriction in your property deeds, you will need the council go-ahead.

Lynette earlier warned that homeowners could be accused of trespassing if their windows open outwards towards someone else's home.

With rules about windows in mind, you shouldn't need planning permission to convert unused space in your home or garden.

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And to keep costs low and reduce the chance of neighbour complaints, don’t make changes to external walls like adding a dormer window.

If you need financial help to make your home improvement happen, Citizens Advice recommends a number of top tips.

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