The neighbour downstairs is placing a kitchen fan extractor right under my living room window..

24 Oct 2022
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United Kingdom
Please advise , where do I stand legally..?! The neighbour downstairs is placing a kitchen fan extractor right under my living room window. I live on the ground floor apt in a Victorian grade 2 listed terrace on Westbourne Terrace in Westminister. A developer just bought the basement flat currently under renovations. I know he's trying to flip it when he finishes. I can already see potential buyers visiting. He's changed the kitchen from the back to the front of the building and it's now right under my living room. Today, when I left I noticed a big drilled whole about 90cm below my window. He's placing the kitchen fan extractor on the facade of the building. In the summer I always keep the living room window wide open and there is a beautiful breeze circulating around. The thought of having some cooking stench blowing in is upsetting. How could someone be allowed to drill a 15cm whole and install an extractor on the facade of a grade two listed building? I am not sure if he's got permission, any advise is greatly appreciated. Pls see photos.


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Report it to westminster city council, planning enforcement. Emphasise the listed building aspect. Environmental health also.

Thank you so much ! I will come back.. don't really have that much confidence in the council to be honest ..
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Potential Statutory Nuisance. Contact your council's environmental health team, however I suspect that action under this legislation can only be taken once the fan is used and the nuisance actually occurs.
Contact Westminster's Planning Enforcement Team. They love this kind of thing. If you want a tin of shortbread biscuits emblazoned with a squirrel motif, contact the National Trust. And if you want to have the most inane and fruitless conversation of your life, contact Historic England.
I contacted the main builder and asked him how they managed to get permission for that. He said he'd just come back from holiday and that the client asked him to and that he'll pass by tomorrow to find a solution. Hence, there is no permission for that or he'd just have told me right away, I assume. I don't want to escalate this matter before I talk to him in person .
Always helpful if you can resolve it informally especially if the builder’s on board

Could easily become a nuisance. (a common law private nuisance - not a statutory nuisance!) It is settled law that you cannot just expel fumes over another's land. Your problem is proving that it is, in fact, a nuisance. Procedure is normally to have sniffers, sniff the offending smells. You will normally need at least two independent sniffers. You can see the problem, you need to get two corroborating sniffers to sniff the offending smells and agree that it is offensive, but you can't be sure that your neighbour will be using the extractor when those sniffers call, or that you neighbour will even use the extractor at all? Many people don't. However, the remedy and compensation for causing nuisance smells is potentially quite severe, so your best bet is to advise the developer of this and convince them that they don't need the trouble.

Play it matter of fact; you don't want to cause trouble but you have taken advice and you are assured that extractor smells definitely constitute nuisance and the laws of nuisance can lead to big fines and remedies. Also tell them that your adviser has advised you to register the complaint with the council so the flat cannot be sold without the potential claim of nuisance being declared to purchasers. The best thing all round is to revise the extractor so it does not/will not cause you a problem. You might also add that your advisor also advised you to contact local authority planning and conservation officer because your advisor didn't believe an extractor was allowable on a listed building without consent.

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