How to develop your property without landing in legal hot water

Ask any property developer how to make money in the competitive and sometimes turbulent property market and there’s a good chance that they’ll tell you to add value to your current home.

The easiest way to do this is to increase your living space either by adding an extension or converting an unused part of your property. In order to do this without coming up against too many legal obstacles, you need to be armed with a little bit of property developer’s knowledge.

Penthouses and basements

Developing the penthouse or basement of a property is becoming increasingly popular, especially in cities where space is at a premium. Though this can add serious money to the value of your home, it’s not without a few challenges.

The first thing that you’ll need to do is to check that there are no restrictive covenants relating to your property and that there are no restrictions in the lease if it is a leasehold.

Next you’ll need to consider the possible impact of your development on your neighbours. For example will their access to light be affected or will they be subject to unacceptable levels of noise and disruption while the development is in progress.

Depending on the exact scope of your project you may also need to seek planning permission which could further complicate and delay a development.


One of the most common issues faced by those wanting to build an extension is a party wall dispute. If your extension will be affected by a party wall, the best way to protect yourself from future legal issues is to employ a party wall surveyor.

They should be able to advise you on the steps that you need to take to protect yourself and your neighbour from disputes.

As any damage that is caused to the wall or the neighbouring property can result in serious consequences, it’s also a good idea to hire a builder who has specific experience dealing with party walls. If an amicable solution cannot be reached local firms like Dewar Hogan can help with boundary disputes and other property issues.

Developing your property is a great way to add value and make your home a nicer place to be but you must be aware of the potential pitfalls and problems you could face so you won’t land yourself in any legal hot water.