A wall is a ‘party wall’ if it stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two (or more) different owners. It can be: part of one building or separate two (or more) buildings or consist of a ‘party fence wall’ standing astride the boundary line between lands of different owners. Legislation also covers ‘party structures’ which can be a wall or floor or other structure separating parts of a building.
As a property owner or landlord you need to be aware of your rights and responsibilities regarding party walls. These have been set out in The Party Wall etc Act 1996. Put simply, you must notify your neighbour and gain approval before carrying out building work, which affects a party wall, or excavations near party walls.
The Party Wall etc Act is there to protect all property owners and avoid disputes. Where disagreements arise, a chartered surveyor should be appointed who will have the expertise to resolve disputes so that work can go ahead.
That’s okay - the Act only applies to certain types of works, such as damp proofing, extensions, and structural alterations. If you are carrying out excavations or laying foundations within a certain distance of a neighbouring property, you must also notify your neighbour. Works such as replastering the walls, fixing a plug socket or putting up shelves do not require a party wall notice. Your chartered surveyor will be able to tell you whether or not a notice is needed.
In most cases, notification must be made at least two months in advance of any building work. When you are carrying out ‘line of junction’ or excavation work, you must notify your neighbour at least one month in advance.
After serving a party wall notice (with the support and advice of your chartered surveyor), written agreement should be provided within 14 days. Where this does not happen, the Act states that both parties appoint either an ‘agreed surveyor’ who will act impartially, or they can each can choose their own chartered surveyor who will work together to reach an agreement on both sides.
A chartered surveyor can also act as third surveyor if, in rare instance, two surveyors do not reach an agreement.
Once an agreement has been reached, your chartered surveyor will publish an award detailing how and when building works will be carried out.
We have detailed knowledge of The Party Wall etc Act 1996 and many years’ experience working with our clients to resolve party wall matters, saving them time and money.
Our team are well trained, conscientious and will help with any worries you may have. They will also deal with your neighbour in a clear, calm and friendly manner, ensuring that relations on both sides remain positive. We have dealt with a wide range of party wall matters and will provide expert guidance to both individuals and developers with a varied portfolio of properties.
If you construct your chartered surveyor well in advance of any building works, you have a much greater chance of avoiding any disputes before they arise, so that your plans can move ahead smoothly.
If you would like to discuss your plans and get a quote, contact us on 020 7175 1441 or use our contact form.