Firw Wall in the attic

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    Firw Wall in the attic

    Hello, I am looking for help - I rent 1/2 of the house. The second half belongs to someone else. The house was built around 200 years ago as one house. 50 years ago house was divided into two parts. However the attic was left as one big, open space without any wall. Therefore my qustion is - as a landlord do I have to build a fire wall in the attic to seperate two houses? If so, please let me know the required regulation etc. Thank you.

    #2
    Do you own your half as long-leaseholder? Who owns the freehold reversion?
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for your quick reply.
      Just to clarify - The property was originally one dwelling.
      Some 50 years ago it was converted to two dwellings. with each having its own seperate address.

      I now own 1/3 of the original house and the freehold to my part of the property.
      I currently rent my property out.

      A party wall has never existed in the attic.
      Recently the new owners of next door approached me to pay half for increasing the height of the party wall in the attic.
      This would provide a firebreak.

      Do I have an obligation to build the firewall and who pays

      Comment


        #4
        Could each part as subdivided exist independently (e.g. like two semi-detached houses) or are they more like flats?
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

        Comment


          #5
          Definately 2 houses
          2 addresses
          2 seperate entrances
          Even seperate front gardens
          Seperate utilities

          Exactly as 2 semi detached houses

          Thank you very much for your help

          Comment


            #6
            OK; so there's probably a clause in the title deeds (when your bit was first split-off from the rest) about the dividing line, inc. boundary structures' ownership/obligations. Is there, and does it not mention the attic? If not, you have no obligations- except (maybe) under Fire Safety/ Health & Safety legislation.
            JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
            1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
            2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
            3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
            4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

            Comment


              #7
              Nothing in the deeds

              Do you know of the exact fire regulations that we have to conform to?

              Comment


                #8
                Sorry, no. However, there are LZ experts who might- so await their comments.
                JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thank you very much for your help.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Call your local council building control and ask for the latest regulations on attic firewalls.
                    They are not complicated to self build in foil backed 12mm plasterboard providing that material is still in the regs. Anyway my advice Local Council just say you are making a general enquiry as to where to find the regs!!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Like everything else (as far as I know) in the Building Regs, there's no obligation to bring old properties up to modern standards every time the Regs are updated. A firewall in the attic is in the current regs for sure, but wouldn't have been when the property was built, so you are under no obligation to install one now; although clearly it's a sensible precaution.

                      I recall seeing inside the attic of a row of old terraced houses, where you could look down the street inside the roof space over goodness knows how many properties, until they dissapeared into the gloom! Which raises another issue - security: if someone breaks into one such property, it's dead easy to break through the ceilings of adjacent properties to gain access (invariably there's a loft hatch for the purpose). It's a well-known method of breaking and entering.

                      If you're going to install a firewall, presumably the normal thing would be for the owners of adjacent properties to negotiate and agree to split the costs, but if you don't mind souring relations with your neighbour you're under no obligation to contribute.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Just spoke to my building control. Guidance is to install some stud work (3 x 2 or 4x 2) exterior sawn, then utilise "Pink Fire Lined Board" which will provide 30 minute protection even if only fitted to one side of the studwork!! Board comes in 8 x 4 sheets I think therefore I would fit two (overboard) to ensure that the joints are covered on the first board!!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Solent Watcher View Post
                          Just spoke to my building control.
                          But to clarify for the OP, since his specific query was about whether erection of the firewall was compulsory or not - you're not implying that Building Control are saying he must do this?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            NO it is not compulsory BUT a very wise thing to do not so much for fire spread but smoke spread!!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Holy thread resurection.

                              If the parties agree to erect a wall then I'd line one side with 2x plasterboard and one side with plywood covered with one layer of plasterboad. This will give the security. Also, set the studs at 400mm centres to make it harder to get between. They may also wish to put insulation between the studs. Finally, give thought on how the wall is going to abut the roof.

                              As for whether it should have been there already well. When it was originally built then no wall would be necessary as it was only one dwelling. However, when it was converted into two dwellings then some compartmentation work would have been required. This would not have necessarily meant building a wall in the attic though.
                              There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                              If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                              Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                              Comment

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