There are many changes to an existing property that involve a party wall (a wall shared with your neighbour’s property). Have you received a party wall act notice from your neighbour and are unsure what your rights are? Or are you aware of changes your neighbour may be planning to make to your shared wall and want to know how this could affect you and your property?
At Kingsley Smith Solicitors we have extensive experience resolving party wall conflicts and can advise you of your options. Our supportive team are approachable and friendly, no matter what we've always got your back. Contact us today on 01634 811118 or make a quick online enquiry.
Party Wall Disputes
Anyone carrying out work on a party wall, building a wall on a boundary, or excavating near a neighbouring building must give their adjoining neighbours notice of their intentions. This should be in accordance with the Party Wall etc Act 1996.
Before carrying out any work, your neighbour will need to obtain a party wall agreement or ‘award’. This ensures that the proposed work will be undertaken properly and that your property will be thoroughly considered. Find out more about Party Wall Agreements below. Find out more about Boundary Disputes.
Party wall act notice
If your neighbour is considering carrying out work, they will usually verbally discuss this with you in the first instance. This is a good time to consider how the work will affect you and your property, to enable you to obtain legal advice if you have any concerns.
At Kingsley Smith Solicitors, we can advise you on your rights under the Party Wall Act etc 1996 if you’re concerned about any work adjoining your property that might affect you.
Your neighbour will then need to advise you in writing of the work they’re planning to carry out, detailing how extensive it will be and when exactly they plan to do it. Formally advising someone in writing in this way is called issuing a ‘Party Wall Act Notice’. They should do this two months before the work is due to start. In some circumstances, at least one month's notice has to be given by your neighbour if they wish to carry out any excavation works near your property. You then have 14 days to respond, either in agreement or dissent. If an agreement is not reached within this time, you then enter a Party Wall Dispute.
Party wall agreement process
It’s important first to establish exactly what a party wall is. There are several different legal definitions of a party wall, which you must understand when considering the work that your neighbour is proposing. The person planning the work may also need a party wall agreement if they’re planning work on a party structure. This sort of work could typically involve things like:
- Removing chimney breasts from a party wall
- Making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper.
- Constructing a new building at the boundary of two properties, including a shed or garage.
- Carrying out a loft conversion.
- Carrying out work that involves putting in RSJs (steel joists)
- Making changes to a dividing floor.
At Kingsley Smith Solicitors, our expert civil litigation team can guide you on any proposed building work and what steps you can take if you wish to object. If your neighbour doesn’t inform you in writing of any proposed changes which fall under the Party Wall Act then you may be able to take legal action.
Changes to party walls such as inserting wall plugs, carrying out electrical work or re-plastering for example do not need permission from adjoining neighbours.
Image credit: Pixabay
If you do enter a Party Wall Dispute, you and your neighbour will need to use an agreed surveyor to determine what work can legally be carried out on the party wall. If you cannot agree on the best surveyor, it’s possible to employ two surveyors who will negotiate the party wall dispute.
The surveyor will draw up an award or party wall agreement which sets out the exact specifications of the work and how this will be monitored until it is complete. It is also important to bear in mind that a party wall agreement does not supersede the need for planning permission or compliance with building regulations.
At Kingsley Smith Solicitors we combine expert planning solicitors with a civil litigation team. This ensures that we give you valuable and extensive advice around your party wall dispute. Read our testimonials to find out about people we’ve helped.
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