Ventilation Rights

Ventilation Rights

Postby bitasean » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:32 pm

I visited a site this morning where the clients want to extend to the rear of their mid terrace property. Their next door neighbours have already extended a kitchen into the garden with a flat roofed structure. The boundary wall of the neighbour's extension has vents in it which I presume are their to ventilate above the joists, but they rely on the air over my client's garden as a source of ventilation. Does anybody know how long such vents have to be in place before the owner has a right to keep them?

And if you want to build over the vents (within your own property) do you need to have a court ruling before you can do so?
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Re: Ventilation Rights

Postby onq » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:44 am

bitasean wrote:I visited a site this morning where the clients want to extend to the rear of their mid terrace property. Their next door neighbours have already extended a kitchen into the garden with a flat roofed structure. The boundary wall of the neighbour's extension has vents in it which I presume are their to ventilate above the joists, but they rely on the air over my client's garden as a source of ventilation. Does anybody know how long such vents have to be in place before the owner has a right to keep them?

And if you want to build over the vents (within your own property) do you need to have a court ruling before you can do so?



You'll have to describe the adjoining development more fully.
  • Is the boundary wall now a parapet with vents in it at first floor level?
  • If not is the flat roof projecting an eaves over the party wall with vents in that?
  • Are there details available confirming the relationship of the elements with the legal property boundary?
  • If the wall of the extension is on the line of the party wall who gave permission for this to be done since laying the footings would normally involve a strip either side of the boundary and this implies a trespass?
  • If this was done by agreement, is there an extant reciprocal agreement allowing your clients to take support from this wall?


This is just settling the matter in a context.

Some possibly relevant links for review

General discussion
http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=4988

UK Act explained
http://diydata.com/planning/party_wall_act/party_wall_act.php

US Law explained
http://www.answers.com/topic/party-wall

Wiki Resource
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_wall

Chat to your planning officer and see the planning file is there is one.
I fail to see how your neighbour has acquired rights of venting over your property.
I would argue that establishing rights to vent into another's airspace isn't exempted development, and even if it were, planning law doesn't supersede the law of the land.

Any advice given here is offered in the presence of unknowns, and remote from the situation and therefore may be of limited relevance.

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Re: Ventilation Rights

Postby Solo » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:24 am

Hi,

Generally in title one owns from the centre of the earth to the sky. There is also a useful UK publication called the party wall act and it sets out how to act in party wall situations. It keeps things civilised. Over here we tend to have more difficulty in this area. You do need to post a bit more detail before your question can be more fully answered. I have had similar incidents and will actually start shortly on a site with the room ventilation using my clients site for air. Well in my case they will soon be history but your situation could be different.
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Re: Ventilation Rights

Postby OisinT » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:39 am

While there isn't really a ventalation right in this jurisdiction per se, you'd want to be very careful before just covering them up. It was clearly shortsighted of their contractor/architect to do that.
It would not be considered an easement by necessity in my opinion, but it could be an easement by adverse possession if used for 12 years.
Your safest bet though, is to contact a solicitor (to find out of land is registered or unregistered firstly) and get their opinion on what the options are.
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