basement conversion neighbours

Basements conversions in London have been hitting the headlines for mostly the wrong reasons. The majority of these stories involve neighbours falling out over the disruption that basement conversions can cause. The most famous and on-going story is between Foxtons tycoon John Hunt and the French Embassy. They have been locked in a long legal battle due to Hunt wanting to build a mega basement. However, you don’t need to fall out with your neighbours just because you want to gain some more living space. Here is our guide on how to stay onside with the neighbours when undertaking a basement conversion:


London is infamous for people not knowing or ever talking to their neighbours; but, getting to know them can be an effective way of keeping them onside, so they don’t lodge objections with the council. Go over and introduce yourself and state what you plan on doing to your property. Maybe bring over something to drink or some tasty treats to help break the ice.

If your schedules don’t quite match then at least drop a letter through their letter box, with the details of the work that will be carried out and some contact details, in case they have further questions.

Party Wall Agreements

When undertaking a basement conversion, you will most likely need a party wall agreement unless your property is totally detached, with no immediate neighbours. This is a legal agreement with your neighbour to commence building work which will affect the wall that is jointly owned. It is highly recommended that you speak to your neighbour in person and don’t just slip a party wall agreement through the letterbox with no explanation. Your neighbour is well within their rights to refuse the notice within 14 days. After this period, the party wall agreement goes into dissent and surveyors will be instructed, which the homeowner have to legally pay for. It may be worth reassuring your neighbour that a party wall agreement is there to help and protect both properties – meaning nothing can be done to the party wall without their permission.

Be considerate

Noise and rubbish are usually the most things complained about when it comes to any kind of home improvement work. It’s worth finding out your neighbours’ schedule and if possible try and work around it. For example, if you have big trucks that may take up their parking spot, try to arrange for them to come when your neighbours are at work, or when you know they will be away.

While it may not be possible for you to always work around them, forewarning them of any particular disruptive works can help to keep neighbourly relations friendly. Forewarning or asking a neighbour if you can use their space (even if you know they are not going to be there) will make them feel considered.

Basement conversions do generate a lot of building waste – especially soil. While it might be impossible to stop any dust, soil or debris from going on to their property, offering to clean it up or footing the bill for it will go a long way – especially if they are vulnerable or infirm.

If you are thinking of getting a London basement conversion, contact Simply Basement today for a free site survey.

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