This blog is not an authoritative interpretation of the law; it is intended as a general guide.
In this blog Icon Surveyors will be considering what a Boundary Wall is, and who, if anyone, has the right to attach anything to a Boundary Wall.
What is a Boundary Wall?
A Boundary Wall is a wall that stands astride the boundary of land that belongs to two or more land owners. This is different from a 'Party Wall' in that it is usually a garden wall that is built astride the boundary line and is used to separate the land of each of the owners. It should be noted that wooden fences or hedges are not considered to be 'Boundary Walls'.
Who has a right to interfere with a Boundary Wall?
Generally speaking, each of the land owners that share a ‘Boundary Wall’ own 50% of the wall as the wall usually sits on the boundary line. Under the provisions of the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996, a land owner has the right to repair or demolish and rebuild a ‘Boundary Wall, however, this cannot be done unless the other land owner agrees to the proposed works the other intends to carry out. If an agreement cannot be reached, under the provisions of the Act, a dispute will be deemed to have occurred and a surveyor will have to be appointed to draw up a workable agreement between the parties. If however, the Boundary Wall poses a danger to either of the landowners or any other person or animal that has access to the land, a building owner may either repair or demolish and rebuild the wall without prior consent.
Can either land owner attach anything to the Boundary Wall?
The short answer is no. As can be seen from the preceding paragraphs a ‘Boundary Wall’ is owned by two or more land owners, each of which must ask the other for permission to repair or rebuild the wall. If one of the land owners wishes to attach some ornaments or hanging baskets to their side of the wall, provided such attachments do not interfere with the other party's side of the wall, this may be permissible. However, any interference with any other land owner’s part of the ‘Boundary Wall’ would be considered as a non-permissible interference of property of another and might in the most extreme cases, result in a conviction for criminal damage!
Icon Surveyors would recommend that a 'Boundary Wall' owner who wishes to attach anything to a 'Boundary Wall', first seeks the consent of the neighbouring land owner. This can be done by speaking to the neighbour or sending a letter or email explaining what you want to attach to the wall and any measures you may take to ensure that it will not cause any damage to the neighbour's side of the wall or indeed any inconvenience to them. Icon Surveyors are happy to provide a free consultation to any building or adjoining owners who may be affected by the subject matter raised in this blog.