Party Wall Disputes

Party wall disputes can be a daunting and confusing experience for homeowners. These disputes often arise when construction work is carried out near or on a shared boundary between two properties. 

This guide dives into the basics of party wall disputes and provides you with a comprehensive understanding of what they entail.

What Is a Party Wall?

A party wall is a shared wall between two properties, typically found in semi-detached or terraced houses. It can also include other structures, such as floors or ceilings, that separate two properties.

When Do Party Wall Disputes Occur?

Party wall disputes can arise when one homeowner intends to carry out construction work that will affect the shared wall or boundary with their neighbour. This could include building an extension, removing or altering a chimney breast, or even digging foundations for a new building nearby.

What Is the Party Wall Act?

The Party Wall Act 1996 was introduced to control party wall disputes and provide clarity on the responsibilities of homeowners. It sets out the procedures for carrying out work on or near a party wall and aims to prevent disputes from escalating.

What Are the Responsibilities of Homeowners under the Party Wall Act?

The Party Wall Act outlines the responsibilities of homeowners when carrying out work that affects a party wall. These responsibilities include the following:

Serving notice to your neighbour informing them of the proposed work at least two months before it starts.

Agreeing on the appointment of a surveyor to oversee the work and ensure that it is carried out in accordance with the Party Wall Act.

Paying for any necessary repairs or alterations to the party wall or boundary that may be required as a result of the work.

What Happens If a Dispute Arises?

If a dispute arises, the Party Wall Act provides a framework for resolving the issue. The first step is to appoint a surveyor who will act as an impartial mediator between the two parties. 

The surveyor will assess the proposed work and determine what measures are required to protect the shared wall or boundary. They will also determine the cost of any repairs or alterations that may be necessary.

If the two parties cannot agree on the appointment of a surveyor, then each party can appoint their own surveyor. In this case, the two surveyors will appoint a third surveyor who will act as an impartial mediator between them.

What Are the Potential Outcomes of a Party Wall Dispute?

There are several potential outcomes of a party wall dispute. If the dispute is resolved through mediation, then the homeowners can proceed with the proposed work. 

However, if the dispute cannot be resolved, then the homeowners may need to seek legal advice and potentially go to court.

The Importance of Seeking Legal Advice

While mediation is often an effective way to resolve party wall disputes, there may be cases where legal action is necessary. In such cases, it is important to seek the advice of a qualified legal professional who has experience in party wall disputes. 

A lawyer offers guidance on the legal implications of the dispute and helps homeowners understand their rights and responsibilities under the Party Wall Act. They can also represent homeowners in court if necessary and ensure that their interests are protected throughout the legal process. 

By seeking legal advice, homeowners can navigate the complexities of party wall disputes with confidence and achieve a fair and just outcome.


Party wall disputes can be a complex and stressful situation for homeowners, but it is important to remember that the Party Wall Act was put in place to provide guidance and protection for both parties involved. 

By following the procedures outlined in the act, homeowners can ensure that their proposed work is carried out fairly while also maintaining a good relationship with their neighbours. 

In the event of a dispute, seeking the advice of a professional surveyor and engaging in mediation can help resolve the issue in a peaceful and mutually beneficial manner.

Resolve your boundary disputes with a professional boundary dispute surveyor from Icon Surveyors, a company that specialises in residential surveying work throughout England & Wales. 

With expertise in party wall surveying, building surveying, and valuation, we are committed to providing you with the highest quality surveying services to ensure your property disputes are resolved efficiently and accurately. Contact us today for a consultation!

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We are a team of party wall surveying experts based throughout London and the surrounding areas. Here, we share informative property survey blogs created by industry experts.



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