A wall is a Party Fence Wall if it separates the garden of the building owner and the adjoining owner. It stands astride the boundary line of adjoining land.
The Party Fence Wall between the garden can sometimes lead to serious disputes. You might wonder what to do if a Party Fence of the building owner is defective or needs repairing? Who pays for its repair?
Generally speaking, the maintenance responsibility of a Fence Wall is shared equally between the adjoining owners.
If a Party Fence Wall is damaged, you’d need to speak to the adjoining owner/s and explain to them the situation to obtain their agreement for the damaged wall. Next, you would make and send the repair work plan to the tender. Then, you will pay the contractor for the required repairing work.
However, it is not always that simple!
You might be wondering what could happen if the adjoining owner disputes the need for the repair or the cost of the repair. What if they dispute their liability with respect to the repairing of the damaged wall?
The Party Wall etc Act ensures that the cost of the repair work is equally shared between the building owner and neighbouring owner. To benefit from this, you will have to serve a Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner.
Upon receipt of the notice, the neighbouring owner will have two options.
Option 1. Accept the Repair Work Needed
If the adjoining owner agrees to the repair work, you will ultimately enter into the discussion with them and decide when to start the repair work and what would be the cost for it.
Option 2. Dispute the Requirement for the Repair Works
If the adjoining owner disputes the requirement for the repair work, they are dissenting to the Party Wall Notice. In such a situation, you can appoint a Party Wall Surveyor to agree on a Party Wall Award and resolve the issue.
The Party Wall Surveyor will determine the cause of the damage to the Fence Wall and the cost of repairing that damaged wall. Moreover, your Surveyor will also attribute the surveying costs in agreeing to the Party Wall Award itself.
Remember that if you or adjoining owner has a big tree or any other structure in your respective gardens that caused any damage to the wall, the responsible owner may find themselves to contribute a greater share. The responsible owner may even have to bear the entire cost of repair and the fee of the Party Wall Surveyor.
Thus, we always recommend discussing the cause of damage and the cost of its repair with the adjoining owners before serving Party Wall Notice.
It is always best to formalise this by obtaining a Party Wall Surveyor to draw up a formal Party Wall Award. As this would mean both neighbours are bond by the Award and are equally responsible.
If you have a neighbours extension Party Wall, neighbours loft conversion, or Party Fence Wall issue, feel free to contact us. Our expert Party Wall Surveyors at the Seven One Associates will be happy to advise and assist you with all your Party Wall issues.