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Neighbor using boundary wall as part of new shed without planning

  • 03-05-2023 10:55am
    Registered Users Posts: 1,152 ✭✭✭

    Look for some guidance on an issue I have with my next door neighbor. They've started to build a shed/cabin on their property, but using our boundary wall as one of the structural walls for the building. There's a significant difference in height on either side of the wall as it is, with the boundary wall acting as a de-facto retaining wall.

    As it stands, the structure (even though it's a single story) is towering over the wall.

    No planning has been sought for the structure, and it's completely separate from the existing house (not an extension). Electrical wires from the constructions are now hanging down over the wall into my property, and they've entered my property a few times using ladders to get into my back yard from their property.

    The owners of the property have a history of building things without planning and seeking retention after the fact, but this is a really dominant structure.

    Furthermore we're almost certain the new construction is for the purposes of letting for AirBnB. Their existing house is being let as an AirBnB for some time, but the real owners name is not the name they use on the AirBnB listing, so I suspect their trying to avoid paying tax on top of everything else.

    I don't know for sure if the boundary wall is evenly split between the properties, or if it's entirely on our land or their land, and I understand that has some bearing on what rights they have with regard to modifications they can make to it.

    My initial thoughts are to:

    1. Get a surveyor to establish on whose land the boundary wall lies.
    2. Tell them we're not happy with the construction regardless of where the boundary wall is, and ask them to cease and remove what's gone up (it's timber-frame)
    3. Failing that, report them to the council for lack of planning for both this and another structure they've built on the other side of the property
    4. Report them to Revenue for lack of declaration of income

    Anything other steps I should be considering?


  • Registered Users Posts: 45,955 ✭✭✭✭muffler

    Yes to all of the above except no.2. You need to establish the legal boundary first before making any requests.

  • Registered Users Posts: 588 ✭✭✭Yakov P. Golyadkin

    The Air BnB use may also be unauthorised. A property can be let for 90 days a year without planning permission, any more than that and change of use is required. Note that this is the letting of the property in its entirety, if they are letting a room/rooms they are allowed to do so without limit as to days.

  • Registered Users Posts: 127 ✭✭kenny111

    also look at where the water from the roof will drain.

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,057 ✭✭✭✭Lumen

    You're making some fairly giant assumptions there.

    It's completely normal for Airbnb lettings to be managed by a professional "host" who is not the owner. You have no idea what their tax situation is.

    The shed could just be storage for personal belongings that they don't want used by guests, or spare beds/bedding/whatever.

    The statements "using our boundary wall as one of the structural walls for the building" and "the structure (even though it's a single story) is towering over the wall" seem odd taken together. How can the boundary wall be one of the building walls if the building walls are taller?

    Are you familiar with the regulations on exempted development (e.g. allowed height for different roof types)? It's possible to build an exempt shed that absolutely "towers over" (in the colloquial sense) a boundary wall.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,152 ✭✭✭heavydawson

    Yup, I'm aware of the host angle. However the wife in this family is at home all the time, so I can't think of any reason why they'd need a host.

    The shed is fully insulated and they've got sinks/toilets sitting on the floor waiting to be plumbed up. It's got partitions up inside, and windows in each room, so I'm pretty sure it's not for storage.

    I've attached a quick sketchup (not to scale but just to illustrate relative positioning), of the basic problem.

    It shows the boundary wall, the fact their site is elevated above ours as it is, and how their using the boundary wall as a part of one of the walls for the new construction. They didn't build new blockwork on top of the existing wall for the shed, but just started the timberwork for that shed wall on top of the existing boundary wall.

    Yes, I'm familiar with the regs, but given they have a history of building sheds without planning (the sheds did require planning according to the regs), this is just more of the same behaviour, except now it's impacting us.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 39,188 ✭✭✭✭Mellor

    Finding out where the boundary is would seem critical.

    Are you sure it is not exempt from planning. Then council angle would be valid in that case.

    Reporting them to revenue seems petty and vindictive. You have no idea what their tax situation is. Even if they are evading tax, that doesn't impact you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,152 ✭✭✭heavydawson

    Yup, not going to do anything until I've ascertained the situation with the boundary wall + planning.

    Revenue is a last resort, but if it turns out they are making money from development that required planning, then it's a perfectly legit avenue to take.

    Evading tax impacts everyone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,334 ✭✭✭Tefral

    worth having a look on at your folio just even to see if its worth persuing.

    Also here are the rules on excempted development

    You can build a garage, shed, awning, shade, greenhouse, store or other similar structure/object without the requirement for planning permission as long as it complies with the following criteria:

    • No such structure shall be constructed, erected or placed forward of the front wall of a house
    • The total area of such structures constructed, erected or placed within the curtilage of a house shall not, taken together with any other such structures previously constructed, erected or placed within the said curtilage, exceed 25 square metres.
    • The construction, erection or placing within the curtilage of a house of any such structure shall not reduce the amount of private open space reserved exclusively for the use of the occupants of the house to the rear or to the side of the house to less than 25 square metres.
    • The external finishes of any garage or other structure constructed, erected or placed to the side of a house, and the roof covering where any such structure has a tiled or slated roof, shall conform with those of the house.
    • The height of any such structure shall not exceed, in the case of a building with a tiled or slated pitched roof, 4 metres or, in any other case, 3 metres.
    • The structure shall not be lived in, nor shall it be used for the keeping of pigs, poultry, pigeons, ponies or horses, or for any other purpose other than a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the house as such.

    The last one there is important for you i think.... shall not be lived in....

  • Registered Users Posts: 109 ✭✭Kincora2017

    First thing is to check your own property deeds. They should have a map that shows what is the extent of the land in your ownership.

    if that’s ambiguous(which it may be), check with land registry. These can be done fairly cheaply before contacting a surveyor.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,152 ✭✭✭heavydawson

    The external finish is an issue also. It's timber-cladded and the main house is sand and cement render. The roof on it is a flat roof whereas the house has regular slate roof.

    The combined square footage of this shed and another shed they put up in the last two years I'd be nearly sure exceeds the 25 sq m limit.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 45,955 ✭✭✭✭muffler

    But you said they have a history of building other sheds without permission and then getting retention permission for them. Now you say that the floor area of the current shed under construction combined with the area of another shed is over 25 m2 or to be exact you are "nearly sure". None of this makes sense. If they were granted permission for other sheds have you checked the area of these on the planning drawings?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,152 ✭✭✭heavydawson

    Those sheds were on a previous property they owned nearby but have since sold. They only applied for the planning when they decided to sell the old property. Since they bought the current property they've now added 2 sheds (including the one this thread is about) on that as well. So I can find the area of the sheds on the previous property as they got retention permission for them. On the new property no planning has been sought for any of the sheds