News from Stephen Hodge

Summer Summary September Newsletter



In this issue we take a look at party wall issues, a warning on student lets, how we’re helping a major flood research project and a glimmer of good news at last in the housing market.

When a party conference is a good idea


You know summer’s really over when political sabre-rattling heralds the opening of the party conference season.

This year, of course, we’ve scarcely had a summer to speak of, and the forecasters’ promise of a brighter September means there’s likely to be a rush by homeowners to complete building projects that they had hoped to get sorted earlier in the year before we have cold as well as wet weather to contend with. However, when building work or alterations are done in a hurry there’s a greater likelihood of ‘boundary disputes’ where property owners run into trouble with the neighbours over work carried out on or close to a shared boundary.


Just as the best way to head off complaints from the neighbours about a potentially noisy social gathering is to invite them, when you are carrying out party wall works good communication is key, and giving adjoining owners official notice of your plans and keeping them informed is the best way to keep the peace. It’s also a legal requirement under the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

SHA are experts in rights and responsibilities over party wall works and can arbitrate if a dispute arises, as they did recently when some planning of roof details on the hoof was needed to appease a disgruntled neighbour over an extension along the boundary.

Contact us for details if you are considering, or likely to be affected by, buiding works on a shared internal wall or boundary.- Most people dont realise that the Party Wall etc Act applies when work is undertaken within 3m of the boundary.

The Key to Avoid Student Letting Let-Downs


With the last-minute rental housing rush on in university towns and cities across the UK before the new term starts, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is warning students to use a regulated lettings agent to ensure they are fully protected throughout the letting process and tenancy.

Last year, almost half a million students in the UK rented privately but despite this booming market there still is no compulsory regulation of lettings agents. That means just about anybody can set up a letting agency,despite having no qualifications, relevant training and regulations.

For many students, moving to university will be their first experience of managing their own property, and many will have no knowledge of what their landlord must be responsible for. An unlicensed or unaccredited letting agency is more likely to fail to meet best practice standards and there is no official complaints procedure or guaranteed financial protection. There can often be more severe problems with landlords ignoring the deposit protection scheme or charging over the odds for minor misdemeanours.


If your son or daughter is off to uni or college and still looking for somewhere to live, SHA recommends registering with a letting agency that is regulated by a recognised professional body or council accreditation scheme.

Landlords see: Commercial Surveys

Surprise August House Price Bounce


UK house prices recorded an unexpected 1.3% rise in August, according to latest figures from the Nationwide, taking the price of a typical UK home to £164,729. That’s the largest monthly increase since January 2010, reversing the declines recorded in the previous two months. Given the difficult economic backdrop, financial experts say the extent of the rebound is surprising, and although we should never read too much into one month’s data, it is evidence that housing market conditions remain fairly stable. With the UK economy remaining in recession, it’s good to hear some cheering property news for a change!


To keep up to date see our news page

Dont be a Property Twit, Follow us on Twitter!

Keep up to date with our latest projects, problems solved and advice from SHA’s property professionals by following us on Twitter @oxonpropertyadv Recent posts include pictures showing how hot weather, clay soils and vegetation spelt trouble for one homeowner causing subsidence damage that rendered their property unsaleable.



Latest News

News Categories


Contact us for a free consultation Sign up to our newsletter View our case studies Download our brochure Why use a Surveyor?