Neighbors accuse banker of ‘encroaching’ by building loft conversion ‘too close’ to £1.5m house
A millionaire hipster couple are in a legal row with their banker neighbor after he accused her of ‘trespassing’ by building a loft conversion that hits their £1.5million home.
Liz Peck, who runs organic children’s clothing company ‘Our Little Tribe’, and her singer-songwriter husband Adam, are suing Debbie Ranford over the extension of the roof of her flat in trendy East Dulwich, London. London, which she had built back. 2014.
The Pecks claim the loft extension encroaches on their property and has resulted in water leaking into their home and a “big crack” appearing in their wall.
Ms Ranford built the extension next to the Pecks’ own loft conversion, which was already in place when they bought the house in 2010.
Ms Ranford’s builder joined the two dormers by installing ‘filler’ material on the Pecks side of the boundary.
Now the Pecks are taking legal action against their neighbor in Central London County Court, demanding that she be forced to dismantle the loft extension or pay them compensation.
The court heard the banker had built the attic of her two-storey flat in affluent south London, after obtaining consent from her neighbours, Mr and Mrs Peck.
However, Ms Peck, 49, told the court she was horrified when she learned that – in order to get a bigger attic – Ms Ranford had asked her builder to build on the boundary line and encroach on their property to reach the skylights.
Ms Ranford is fighting the case, saying the Pecks consented to its being built above the ‘party wall’ separating the two properties and that the work she had done to join the rooms was ‘inevitable’. Mrs Ranford’s property is on the left
Banker Debbie Ranford (pictured left), who is locked in a legal dispute with neighbors Liz and Adam Peck (right) over the loft extension in East Dulwich
Ms Ranford is fighting the case, saying the Pecks consented to its being built above the ‘party wall’ separating the two properties and that the work she had done to join the rooms was ‘inevitable’.
The judge was told Ms Ranford, who works in regulatory reporting at a city bank, decided to do the work on her upstairs apartment in 2014 and arranged for her neighbors to sign a notice of adjoining wall to consent to it.
It involved building a skylight in his loft, alongside the loft conversion that was already in place in the Pecks’ house next door when they bought it in 2010.
The couple had previously been friends with Ms Ranford and her husband Ralph, and Ms Peck was even treated to a torchlight tour of the extension after dinner in April 2014.
But giving evidence, Ms Peck told Judge Simon Monty QC that the work they agreed to should have stopped before the boundary between the two properties.
Their own loft conversion was itself just under an inch from the party wall and they realized that Mrs. Ranford’s bedroom needed to be positioned to leave a gap between the two properties to allow for maintenance.
The Pecks (pictured) are now suing their neighbor in Central London County Court, demanding that she be forced to dismantle the loft extension or pay them compensation
The first time Mrs Peck knew she had been joined was when a roofer was investigating the cause of a leak and shouted that his neighbor had built over and over the boundary, she said.
‘We didn’t know the house next door had been built on our property,’ Ms Peck told the judge.
“To see that, you have to be at the very end of our garden.
“Given the party wall notice we had signed, we had no reason to check the work.”
Her husband – who is part of rock and roll band Peck, from Peckham and Norwich, and writes his own music inspired by the Britpop scene of the late 90s and 2000s – added: “It was a shock to realize and discover that something very different had been built.
Representing the couple, solicitor Richard Egleton said Ms Ranford chose not to leave any space between the two extensions because she did not want to have a smaller loft.
Instead of leaving a void, the builder had extended the party wall upwards to use as the outer wall of Ms Ranford’s attic, with the space between the two dormers being filled with material on the Pecks’ side to prevent damage. by bad weather.
The Pecks seek a “binding injunction requiring the removal of the portion of defendant’s skylight extension that is built on the party wall” or damages. Mrs Ranford’s property can be seen on the left
The solicitor claimed the works had resulted in ‘obvious trespassing’ and that Ms Ranford should be ordered to dismantle the skylight to remove the parts of the extension works which are on the Pecks side of the boundary and from the adjoining wall.
‘The only person to benefit [trespass] is the defendant Ms. Ranford, although the defendant seeks to suggest that the work performed is for the benefit of the plaintiffs,” he told the judge.
‘Defendant Mrs Ranford, on discovering that the plaintiffs’ extension was about 1.5cm from the party wall, did not wish her extension room to be smaller than that shown on her architect’s plan – for allow a larger gap between the two skylights and hence easier maintenance – and therefore decided to proceed with the option of extending the room by building on the party wall.
He added: “The plaintiffs also allege that the work interfered with the structural integrity of their property and caused damage in that in 2015 and again in 2018 they suffered leaks and cracks in the party wall at first floor level The damage amounts to a nuisance.
Representing the couple, solicitor Richard Egleton said Ms Ranford (pictured) chose not to leave any space between the two extensions as she did not want to have a smaller loft
Mr Egleton said the clash between the neighbors had ‘destroyed’ both of their properties as neither would be able to sell while the dispute raged. Ms Ranford had twice failed to sell her flat herself, he said.
Giving evidence, Ms Ranford said building on the party wall and joining the skylights was ‘unavoidable’ due to fire regulations and for weather protection purposes.
None of its actual extensions are on the Pecks’ side of the border, with the only material on their property being the “filler” material used to join and protect the two structures from the weather, she said.
“We haven’t crossed the wall as far as our building is concerned,” she told the judge. “The only part that overlaps beyond the party wall is for weather protection.”
She added: “The pragmatic solution is to appoint an expert to advise us on a next step. We were always willing to follow a common surveyor.
Courtyard focuses on house in trendy East Dulwich, London
The Pecks seek a “binding injunction requiring the removal of the portion of defendant’s skylight extension that is built on the party wall” or damages.
If the skylight extension is allowed to remain, they want Ms Ranford to re-waterproof it replacing the ‘filler’ material that is on their property.
Ms Ranford is defending the Pecks’ claim on the grounds that it was filed too late after the work was completed in 2014.
The amendment to the original scheme was also unavoidable due to fire regulations and the Pecks had consented to this amendment, she says, also insisting that no damage was caused to the property of its neighbors by raising the party wall.
The trial continues.