A party wall is a permanent structure (i.e. not a wooden fence) standing on two adjoining owners’ properties. This could be the wall separating semi-detached houses or a garden border. A party wall also exists if the wall is wholly on one owner’s land but both benefit.
Under the Party Walls etc Act 1996 (PWeA), you must notify your neighbour of any proposed works affecting a party wall. This includes building on the boundary of your properties, working on existing party walls, or digging near your neighbour’s foundations.
Although your neighbour can’t prevent lawful changes to your property, they can affect timing and methods used to carry out proposed work.
What if a dispute arises?
Under the PWeA, you must allow your adjoining owner 14 days following a notice of proposed works to agree. If they do not agree the Act deems them to be “in dispute”.
Thankfully, most disputes are relatively simple to resolve. Each owner appoints an impartial surveyor to come to a Party Wall Agreement. Often, the adjoining owner will agree with their neighbour’s surveyor who becomes an “agreed surveyor”; this must be agreed in writing.
If they do not appoint their own or consent to an agreed surveyor within 14 days, the first party has the right to appoint one for them.
If you’re in the middle of a party wall dispute or need advice, https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/conveyancing-solicitors/conveyancing-solicitors-London or similar, can help you find the right surveyor to assist with a swift and amicable agreement.
If you’re still unhappy
Occasionally, despite a Party Wall Agreement being issued, one or both parties will still disagree. In this case, either party can appeal to the County Court within 14 days.
Disagreements often occur due to a misunderstanding of legislation, therefore, always use fully qualified conveyancing solicitors London has a wealth of expertise in this area, so you should be able to find a surveyor with appropriate references.
What happens next?
Once disputes are resolved in writing, you can begin your proposed work. Remember, you must avoid causing unnecessary inconvenience or damage to your neighbour’s property and fix or pay for any damage caused.
Your neighbour must allow ‘reasonable access’ for surveyors and workmen. You must provide your neighbour 14 days’ notice should you require access to their property unless it’s an emergency.