If you are planning to extend or convert your property, you might be under a legal obligation to serve a Party Wall Notice to your neighbours – even if you don’t actually share a wall with them. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is completely separate from planning or building regulations.
The Party Wall Act grants rights that do not exist within common law to Building Owners undertaking certain construction work. The Adjoining Owner will not be able to use the Party Wall Act to stop you undertaking any building projects, although, if the process is not followed you could be at risk of an injunction being placed against you.
The Party Wall Act will provide a framework for resolving disputes between neighbours in connection with Party Walls and Structures, Boundary Walls and Excavations near neighbouring buildings.
Key benefits to Building Owners include:
- Enabling works to be carried out legally upon service of an Award by a Party Wall Specialists
- Offering protection from future spurious claims of damage
- Preventing the expense of going to court in the event of a dispute
Here are 4 ways you might be affected by the Party Wall Act:
1. Your shared Party Wall may in need for repair although, the Adjoining Owner is reluctant or has little interest in paying due proportion for the repairs to the shared party wall. If no Party Wall Agreement is produced by a Surveyor, you risk the whole works being solely at your costs. You will not be able to reinforce the Party Wall Act 1996 to compel the land owner to pay due proportion to you in regards to the repair work. If you are likely to do any work you can get the award to ensure that you are covered and a Surveyor is appointed to help resolve any disputes that may occur.
2. Where a Building Owner carries out works notifiable under the Act, it can sometimes have detrimental effects to the shared Party Wall. If a Party Wall Award is not drawn up by a Surveyor and the shared Party Wall later suffers from damage as a result of the works then a dispute will arise as to resulting costs of repairing the wall. At this point, as no Award was drawn up by a Surveyor for earlier work, the Surveyor has no remit to resolve the dispute. As such it would be down to the building owners to prove their case in court, which can be quite costly. You can get a Party Wall Specialist to come and survey your property and help safeguard your property against building works.
3. If a Building Owner decides to carry out work to an existing Party Wall that is damaged and they have correctly served notice under the Party Wall Act 1996 before works have commenced, you will have no right to stop them. You must allow access for works and inspections to be carried out once you have received the 14 days’ notice from your neighbour. It is important to appoint a Surveyor to ensure the due proportion of costs is calculated fairly amongst both owners.
4. If the Building Owner is carrying out works which are pursuant to the Party Wall Act and your property is damaged, then the Building Owner will be required to compensate you. However, you must employ a Party Wall Surveyor London to draw up an Award prior to works commencing.
Not sure on how you will be affected by the Party Wall Act? Looking for a Party Wall specialist? We at SevenOne Associates are here to help with our specialist Party Wall Surveyor in London.