Party walls are the walls that you share with your neighbours and which separate buildings belonging to different owners. Owners of property and landlords need to know their rights and responsibilities when it comes to their Party Walls in case you want to develop, repair or alter your property.
If you want to develop, repair or alter the party wall then a notice must be served on your neighbour and you must obtain your neighbour's agreement before you can start. Works such as extensions, damp proofing, some internal refurbishment and structural alterations all require notice to be given. In addition, notice will have to be served if you are excavating near a neighbouring building.
If you are planning any work, you must first find out whether the work falls within the The Party Wall Act of 1996. If it does, by Law, you must notify all affected neighbours. If you proceed with works without notifying adjoining owners, they may seek to stop the work through a Court injunction or seek other legal redress.
A neighbour cannot stop someone from exercising the rights given by the Act, but they can influence how and when the work is done. The Act also says that a building owner must not cause unnecessary inconvenience. In addition, the building owner may have to provide compensation for any damage and must provide temporary protection for buildings and property where necessary.
Although minor works on a party wall are usually considered to be too trivial to come under the remit of the Act, the key point to be considered is whether any planned work will have consequences for the structural strength and support functions of the party wall. For this reason it is essential that advice is sought from an experienced Chartered Surveyor at the earliest possible stage.
Levene Chartered Surveyors are experts in the field of party wall issues and can provide advice with regard to the implications of the Act considering your specific development proposals, or provide professional advice to any adjoining owners who may be concerned about works being undertaken by a neighbour, which might fall under the jurisdiction of the legislation.
If you are any doubt that works you propose may require specific action as a result of the Party Walls etc Act, or alternatively you are concerned with regard to adjoining works being undertaken we would be pleased to advise further.
Please give our friendly staff a call on 020 8977 6886 or use our contact page to get in touch.