Dave, our long-suffering hero and proprietor of FinalVinyl, has troubles on his plate.
I’d like to be able to tell you that at the end of each day, he is able to lock the stresses of day away in a filing cabinet in his office, and head home to Maeve and the children for a pleasant evening doing whatever it is they do for fun; but I am sad to report that such is not the case.
We should introduce his children: Lottie is 17, Emil 15 and Lisa 12. Dave loves them dearly, as they do him, but they are at that sort of age when they need more of their own space. Moreover, they seem to need an increasing amount of what Dave regards as his own space. However, he’s a reasonable man and understands that it’s not their fault. So not long ago he and Maeve decided to extend their house so that everyone could have a little extra room.
Dave and Maeve live in a terraced house: 121 Legal Way, Woodham. Their plan was to extend at the back of the house, on the side that is joined to No. 119 which is occupied by Erin Quaver, who rents it from Andrea Dorito. They intended to extend to the end of their garden, which at the far end backs onto the Pringles’ house in New North Road. The house on the other side of Dave’s, No. 123, is occupied by the Walkers. A bit like this:
They had drawings done and obtained the necessary planning permission. The builders quoted a price that left just enough in their holiday fund to make sure they could afford their annual pilgrimage to Graceland. So with the green light on and a song in his heart, Dave popped into the Minstrel’s Rest, where – you probably guessed it – he bumped into Simon.
“You’re looking very pleased with yourself”, Simon observed (after accepting a drink, obviously). So Dave told him about the scheme.
“And the neighbours were all ok with the party wall agreements, then?” Whereupon the song in Dave’s heart gave way to a sinking feeling.
“I thought that was what the planning permission was all about?” he said hopefully.
“Afraid not. Any work you do which has an impact on your neighbour’s property will probably need to have a party wall agreement in place. Whether it’s work on adjoining walls, or excavation works that might go into their property, or new walls near the boundary.”
Dave’s heart was now somewhere in the vicinity of his knees. However, Simon was in reassuring mood: “It can be pretty straightforward, though. You’ll need one kind of notice for Erin and Andrea, one for the Pringles, and one for the Walkers.”
“I’ll never remember that”, moaned Dave.
“You don’t need to”, said Simon, crisply. That’s where Simplify the Law comes in. They’ve got all the explanation you need, and when you go on their website you fill in the details online and it produces the notices for you.”
“And then we can go ahead with the work, right?”
“Not quite. The neighbours might object, or there might be some additional work that is necessary. And in case they do, I suggest you appoint a surveyor.”
“Where do I find a surveyor”?
“Funny you should say that”, said Simon”. I know just the lady: Partina Walls. She’s a specialist in this stuff. Have a word with her. I know it seems a pain, but if you don’t do this you could be in for a hefty bill in the long run.”
Dave swallowed the rest of his drink, bought another and began to calm down. Remembering how helpful Simon had been in the past, and how Simplify the Law really had, actually, simplified the law, he started to think it might not turn out so bad after all.
And so it proved. He found the notices he needed, sent them to his neighbours and is now awaiting their response.
He has to endure for just a little longer the daily battle with Lottie for the bathroom, Emil’s permanent scowl and Lisa’s violin practice (music, it seems does not run in the family).
So for the time being poor Dave continues to bang his head against the wall – for which he doesn’t need to serve notice on anyone.