We are finally here. Demolition starts Monday and the 100 day time estimated by the contractor starts running.
Every time we thought we were there, along came another document that had to be signed and certified by someone who needed a check and filed with the D.O.B. It was maddening but the permits are finally printed off and ready to be taped on the window.
We spent the last two weeks nailing out an agreement with our neighbor to build her a new shed (exact cost to be determined). We are grateful that she was not the crazy neighbor that some renovation bloggers have experienced. In the end, she was quite reasonable. We guess would have done the same in her position. Our advice to anyone renovating a house that will need access to their neighbor’s property–start the negotiations early so when your permits come in you are ready to go.
If a neighbor will not give you permission to go on their property you can file with the courts for a license under New York Real Property Actions & Proceedings – Article 8 – § 881 Access to Adjoining Property to Make Improvements or Repairs
This law does not guarantee that you will be granted a license to get access to their property but as long as it is reasonable access it will probably be granted. The factors to consider before applying for this are obviously costs and time. The courts move as slowly as the DOB and lawyers are costly. You are better off to be agreeable and polite with your neighbors. It doesn’t hurt to give them a little inconvenience money as well. Nothing says thank you like cash.
Before demolition started we needed to move anything of value that we wanted to keep safe out of the way. The workers will only have the demolition plans to determine what stays and what goes and mistakes can be made.
To be on the safe side we removed all of the decorative moldings from walls that were going to be demolished and moved all the doors we wanted to save down to the basement. While we could have instructed the contractor to do this, we know that this phase tends to go fast and they could get damaged or accidentally scrapped.
We hope to reuse some of the door frame moldings (above) and the doors. One of the doors has a glass window with the seal of the City of New York etched onto it. The moldings, from what we can guess, are Victorian. We haven’t been able to find examples of it to determine its exact style but we have seen older buildings with it in various real estate listings in the city.