Are you planning on renovating or extending your property? If so, you may need to consider a Party Wall Agreement. This legal document is essential when carrying out building work that affects your property's shared wall with your neighbour's property. It sets out the rights and obligations of both parties and aims to prevent disputes from arising.
This article will guide you through the Party Wall Agreement and help you understand when you need one. Read on.
What Is a Party Wall Agreement?
This legal document outlines the rights and obligations of property owners when carrying out building works that may affect a shared wall. It is a requirement under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, which applies to England and Wales.
The Act defines a 'party wall' as a wall that separates two or more properties, including a garden wall that sits on the boundary line. It also covers the floors and ceilings between properties.
If you are planning on carrying out any of the following works, you will need a Party Wall Agreement:
- Building a new wall on the boundary line between two properties
- Carrying out work on an existing party wall, such as removing or altering it
- Excavating within 3-6 meters of a neighbouring property's foundations
- Building a new wall or structure that is adjacent to a neighbouring property
It's important to note that you may need a Party Wall Agreement even if the work you are carrying out is on your own property. This is because the work may still affect the shared wall or the neighbouring property's foundations.
Who Needs to Serve a Party Wall Notice?
Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, the person carrying out the building work must serve a Party Wall Notice to their neighbour(s) at least two months before the work begins. The notice must include the following:
- The name and address of the property owner carrying out the work
- The address of the property where the work is being carried out
- A description of the proposed work, including plans and drawings
- The proposed start date of the work
If you have multiple neighbours who share the party wall, you will need to serve a Party Wall Notice to each of them.
What Happens Next?
Once you have served the Party Wall Notice, your neighbour(s) have 14 days to respond. They can either:
- Agree to the proposed work
- Dissent to the proposed work
If your neighbour(s) dissent to the proposed work, a Party Wall Surveyor will need to be appointed. The Surveyor will act as an impartial third party and make a Party Wall Award. This is a legal document that sets out the rights and obligations of both parties.
The Party Wall Award will include the following:
- The extent of the work to be carried out
- How and when the work will be carried out
- Any additional work that may be required, such as repairs to the shared wall
- The cost of the work and who will pay for it
- The Surveyor's fees
It's important to note that both parties must agree to the Party Wall Award. If they cannot agree, they can appeal to the County Court within 14 days of receiving the Award.
What Happens if You Don't Have a Party Wall Agreement?
If you carry out building work that affects the party wall without a Party Wall Agreement, you risk legal action being taken against you. Your neighbour(s) can take you to court to stop the work or claim damages if the work has caused damage to their property.
Legal action can be costly and time-consuming, so it's always better to have a Party Wall Agreement in place before carrying out any building work.
Remember that the person carrying out the building work must serve a Party Wall Notice to their neighbour(s) at least two months before the work begins. If your neighbour(s) dissent to the proposed work, a Party Wall Surveyor must be appointed, and a Party Wall Award will be made.
It's always better to have a Party Wall Agreement in place before carrying out any building work to avoid disputes and legal action being taken against you.
For more information on party wall agreements, turn to Icon Surveyors. Our surveyors are results-driven, ensuring through our assistance and hard work you achieve the best possible outcome and result, whatever your property matter. Request a quote!