Party Wall Agreements
party-wall-agreements

Party Wall Agreements

If you are planning a home improvement project that affects an adjoining or shared wall or boundary with your neighbours you may need to consider issuing a party wall agreements. You will also be required to serve a party wall notice. The Party Wall Act 1996 applies to nearly all works carried out to party walls.

If works to the property are minor in nature, such as rudimentary repairs, replastering or cutting into the party wall to recess electrical wiring and sockets, you can use a straightforward Party Wall Agreement to record the work to be carried out.

What Is A Party Wall?

A party wall is a separating partition between two adjoining properties that is shared by the occupants of each building. This applies to both residential and commercial premises.

The main types of party walls are:

  • A wall standing on the land of two or more owners and composes part of a building. The wall can be part of one building or separate buildings belonging to different owners.
  • A wall that stands on the land of two owners but is not part of a building, e.g. a garden wall.
  • A wall that is on one owner’s land but is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings
  • A party structure can be a floor or other structure that divides buildings or parts of buildings and have separate owners.

The Party Wall Act also legislates for preventing and resolving disputes surrounding party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring properties.

Where a property owner wishes to start work covered by the Party Wall Act they must give adjoining owners notice. There are three different types of notice depending upon the work being undertaken.

What Type Of Building Work Requires Notice?

  • A new build on or situated at a boundary between two properties
  • Installation of a damp-proof course
  • Works to an existing party wall or party structure
  • Excavation close to and beneath the foundations of neighbouring buildings
  • Building a new wall on or at a boundary of two properties
  • Cutting into a party wall
  • Increasing the height of a party wall, or making it shorter or deeper
  • Removal of a chimney breast from a party wall
  • Demolishing and rebuilding a party wall
  • Digging below the foundations of a neighbouring property

It is important to note that whilst your neighbours cannot prevent you making changes to your property that are within the law, they can affect how and when those works are carried out.

Types Of Notice

There are three different types of Party Wall notices, and which one you will need to use depends upon the proposed work to be carried out.

Line of junction notice – section 1 notice

Where there is an intention to construct a wall either side or abutting a boundary which is not built upon, or where it is built upon but only by way of a simple boundary wall, a notice must be served with a minimum notice period of at least one month. This situation typically arises where a rear extension spans the width of a property and the external walls either represent the boundary line or straddle it.

Party Structure Notice – section 3 notice

This includes particular works to a party structure and limited works to an adjoining owner’s independent building. The minimum notice period for works such as this is two months and must be served on every adjoining property owner with an interest in the relevant buildings or land. The most common scenario is where a neighbour wishes to install a loft conversion but there are obviously many other situations where party structure notices are required.

Notice of adjacent excavation – section 6 notice

If any proposed works involve excavation of any type within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring structure (whether or not for foundations) and the proposed excavation falls within prescribed dimensional specifications in relation to the adjoining building or property, then a notice must be served. Generally speaking, in any case where the depth of the neighbours foundations cannot be confirmed, caution is advised and notice should be given.

How Much Notice Should Be Given?

You must give you neighbours between two and twelve months before the planned start of the building works as part of a Party Wall Agreement. As a gesture of good faith, you may wish to discuss the proposed works in person before sending them formal written notice. There is an explanatory booklet on the gov.uk website which provides guidance for owners who intend to carry out building work including sample letters and template notices but a quick search online will elicit numerous free standard forms.

Although there are no enforcement procedures provided within the Party Wall Act for failure to serve a notice, if any work commences without written notice being given, an adjoining owner is within their rights to obtain a court injunction to stop the work or seek other legal remedies. They cannot stop the work being carried out but they can dictate how and at what time the work is done. A building owner should not cause any unnecessary inconvenience to an adjoining owner over and above that which will probably occur when such works are tackled.

Where there has been any damage to an adjoining property caused by the work, the building owner shall either make good the damage or make payment in lieu of making good sufficient to cover the costs of repair. However, it is sensible to provide adequate temporary protection to minimise damage happening in the first place.

In residential properties Party Wall Agreements are typically required for building work that involves loft conversions, the insertion of a damp-proof course or anything that affects a building’s foundations such as the building of an extension. To start this process, the building owner serves the notice on affected (adjoining) neighbours giving full details of the proposed party wall works.

What Happens After The Notice Has Been Served?

The person receiving the notice may:

  • Give their consent in writing; or
  • Refuse to consent to the proposed works (in cases of refusal, the Party Wall Act provides a mechanism for dispute resolution); or
  • Do nothing. After 14 days from the service of the notice, you are still waiting for a reply, a dispute is deemed to arise and the dispute resolution procedure becomes operative
  • Give a counter-notice setting out any additional or modified work they would like to be undertaken for their own benefit. A counter-notice should be served within 14 days, otherwise a dispute is deemed to have arisen.

If you have already broached the subject with your neighbours, a notice of works will not come as a surprise and it decreases the likelihood of disagreements arising if they are already aware of the proposed works.

What’s Next If An Adjoining Neighbour Disagrees?

If they disagree and they do not come to a party wall agreements, or do not reply within 14 days a Party Wall Award is required. In this case both building owner and neighbour appoint ONE ‘Agreed Surveyor’ who acts impartially for both parties.

The agreed surveyor should be separate and not the same person they instructed for their own work, otherwise the neighbour may not view the surveyor as a neutral advisor. They will produce an ‘Award’ which details the proposed works, and produce a schedule of condition, including photographs of the neighbour’s home.

Surveyor rates vary from place the place but on average costs are between £150 and £200 per hour. Party wall award surveyor costs are likely to be in the region of £1000.

If you cannot agree upon a joint surveyor, each party can appoint their own surveyor but this can be cost prohibitive for the building owner who must pay for their own costs as well as their neighbours surveyor.

All these options should be clearly set out in the notice.

Common Errors

  • Failing to provide adequate notice
  • Failure to notify ALL affected neighbouring properties. This includes freeholders and any leaseholders with longer than a year left on the lease. If the property is situated in a row of terraced houses, neighbours on both sides may be affected. If the property is next to a block of flats, the notice may need to be served on a number of people. Property ownership can be checked via the Land Registry website.
  • Not adequately describing the proposed works precisely enough or failing to include sufficient information and full structural details.
  • Using the incorrect form of notice or not using the standard form. For example, the form of notice for a party wall is different from that for excavating foundations.

Generally speaking, your works will only usually affect direct neighbours – those on either side of your property – but there may be other affected neighbours if your building work is close to a rear boundary or excavating to a depth where you are within six metres of neighbouring foundations. It is essential you consider all aspects of your proposed alterations or developments and how they affect the owners of adjoining properties. If you do your best to foster good relationships and an open dialogue with your neighbours you may avoid any problems further down the line.

 

What our clients say

Great value for money. Everything went smoothly and I was very pleased with the service provided
Rachel Whitfield
Rachel Whitfield
20:59 12 Oct 18
Excellent! Very responsive, and really helped to push the purchase. There were unexpected delays during the process, but Anthony really helped to reassure me that he was doing everything he could to progress the sale. Ultimately, it all worked out in the end, and I would highly recommend! I would also recommend for auction purposes.
Sean Stevens
Sean Stevens
09:14 21 May 18
Very happy customer. Understanding of our needs and recommended a really fantastic solicitor.
Jack Hearne
Jack Hearne
17:49 12 Oct 18
I have just completed the purchase of my flat with them. They were recommend by the estates agents Phillip Arnold and they were fantastic. My case was handled by Milena who was really helpful and always available on the phone. The online system is also really easy to use. If I buy or sell a property I will definitely be using them again.
Sharon Kelly
Sharon Kelly
18:27 20 Dec 17
I used this service following a recommendation. The online case tracker worked really well. I would recommend this service as it's vital in the coordination between Estate Agencies and between Solicitors. The service proved invaluable in helping progress the conveyancing work efficiently and effectively. Completed the transaction just before Christmas having instructed the Solicitors on the 4th.
Shelly Harrill
Shelly Harrill
16:30 19 Dec 17
Excellent Service. Final Price same as quoted.
A Google User
A Google User
14:26 19 Dec 18
Have used them twice. Both times completion happened in less than 4 weeks, even over Xmas! Totally amazing. They take the stress out of the whole process.
Daniel West
Daniel West
13:04 21 Dec 18
Excellent Service. Final Price same as quoted
Parsa Khamooshi
Parsa Khamooshi
15:54 21 Dec 18
Being a first time buyer they guided me smoothly through the whole process of moving into my first home. Very professional and economical.
Uday Seth
Uday Seth
12:31 24 Dec 18
Express Conveyancing have been excellent in the handling of my recent house sale and purchase. Would highly recommend
James Ellis
James Ellis
11:43 30 Apr 19
Express Conveyancing have been excellent in the handling of my recent house sale and purchase. Would highly recommend
Michelle Preston
Michelle Preston
12:20 30 Apr 19
ThanksThanks for handling my sale and purchase. No complaints from me. Rebecca was regularly on hand to help with my queries and deal with issues.
Claire Miles
Claire Miles
17:48 07 May 19
I bought my first home in South London with Express Conveyancing . Great professional service, I was regularly updated and looked after. Top marks, 100% recommendation from me!
Dale Griffiths
Dale Griffiths
15:58 02 May 19
Good service and happy with the conveyancer
Chris Jenkins
Chris Jenkins
22:01 17 May 19
Great service from start to finish. Was great being able to see progress online! Very quick and efficient! All staff were helpful. Highly recommend
Reece Moseley
Reece Moseley
06:20 30 May 19
I would highly recommend them. They deal with any queries promptly and efficiently. Would definitely use them again.
Sahar Dalini
Sahar Dalini
09:13 10 Jun 19
Fair prices good efficient service
Sue Batchelor
Sue Batchelor
18:46 01 Jun 19
I would highly recommend them. They deal with any queries promptly and efficiently. Would definitely use them again.
Sahar Dalini
Sahar Dalini
09:14 10 Jun 19
This company does not provide conveyancing services directly, they are an introductory company, paid by solicitors to get clients for them. Once you engage with a conveyancing solicitor suggested by them, they don't interfere, and how quick or slow the process is depends on that solicitor that paid them to recruit you. In our case the solicitor was pleasant and corteous, but a bit relaxed, and the whole process took about 9 weeks - about average, but there was nothing "express" about it.About the app to track progress, it is updated by the conveyancing solicitor, so its its usefulness depends on how much he engages with it. In our case, not so much.
Pedro Silva
Pedro Silva
18:27 02 Oct 19
Absolutely outstanding service provided by Rebecca. She really got things moving when they came to a halt. I was moved within 9 weeks. If it wasn't for Rebecca, the move wouldnt have happened that quick. Definitely use EC again in the future.
Sara Kawsar
Sara Kawsar
11:35 03 Oct 19
we purchased a new build flat. The staff at Express were very helpful in finding us our solicitors who was great.
Carl Devenport
Carl Devenport
14:48 26 Sep 19
great service. Completed quickly as promised
Mark Slavinski
Mark Slavinski
16:52 24 Sep 19
Was looking for a modern solicitor with an online website status page so you can live track your progress. The service was fast and they assigned us with a solicitor firm, which was very fast, efficient and pleasant to deal with. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Cedric Tomas
Cedric Tomas
21:29 13 Mar 20
Express provided me with an excellent firm (WYM Legal) and had a good portal for keeping me updated during the process. The portal did lack detail but nonetheless meant slightly less chasing.
Sarju Shah
Sarju Shah
10:50 11 Apr 20
From the quote stage all the way through to completion, this was a very straight forward and open process. Express Conveyancing provided a very quick and detailed quote, which was competitive and their partner PCS delivered the service you’d like to expect from a conveyancing firm. Very happy with the service and would definitely use again.
Harry Edwards
Harry Edwards
20:33 11 Mar 21
I always received update on time, they are very good at calling back. I completed my purchase just under 10 weeks. I am very pleases with service and fee. I definitely recommend the Express Conveyancing to my friends.
Bikash Limbu
Bikash Limbu
14:42 12 Jan 21
I needed to get an auction legal pack reviewed at short notice. Rebecca and her team were super fast AND thorough in their review, identifying areas of concern and helping me get the seller to correct issues with the auction legal pack. Fast, complete and clear responses on all my multiple communications. Super service.
Tracey Lall
Tracey Lall
11:02 08 Oct 20
I decided to appoint Express Conveyancing as the reviews were good and the prices were very reasonable. Rebecca Purssord was attentive and professional throughout. Despite the effects of Covid-19, Rebecca remained available and was very helpful at all times. I would not hesitate to recommend them.
michael lewis mcrae
michael lewis mcrae
16:48 01 Jul 20

Our News

× Whatsapp Us