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Dear PoPville – Our Bump Out Likely to be Blocked by Neighbor Renovation, Are We Screwed?

by Prince Of Petworth February 21, 2014 at 2:30 pm 27 Comments

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Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

“Dear PoPville,

About a year ago we bought a two-story rowhouse in a neighborhood close to downtown, and like many areas in DC, our street and the surrounding blocks are changing rapidly. Our home was renovated in the late 2000s, and at the time the house (and the end unit next to it) was completely gutted and bumped out in back to add a third bedroom and much larger kitchen. As a result, our house is much longer than the one next door on the other side, and we have a total of four windows (two upstairs, two downstairs) that look out of the side of the house onto their yard.

We recently learned that these neighbors, who have lived in their house for many decades, are being asked to move out so that the owner can sell the house. We have grown to love them and are sad to see them go. It sounds like they have heard, not surprisingly, that the house will be gutted and most likely also bumped out to a similar footprint to ours. My question is probably a naive one, but what does that mean for us? Given that the windows directly face the other property, I assume the new owner is well within their rights to build a similar extension that would completely shut in our side windows. Is that the case? And if so, do we just hire someone to re-drywall our own interior and chalk it up to four less windows in the house?”

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