Party Wall Award Protects property

In part 2 of this blog, Icon Surveyors will be focusing on the question as to how long a Party Wall Award protects adjoining owner’s property against damage from works that were commenced and completed.

When does an Adjoining Owners’ Protection Expire Under Party Wall Awards?

This is a rather tricky question the answer of which has not been provided for under the provisions of the Act. However, an answer, albeit not one that is wholly definitive, may be found under sections, 2, 7, or 9 of the Limitation Act 1980, or indeed, under the common law.

Under section 2 of the Limitation Act 1980, an adjoining owner has a right to make a claim for monies owed under the Award directly to the Court. If monies are owed as a result of the Award specifying that monies should be paid within a certain time frame, then the claim must be made within a maximum of 6 years from the expiry of the date that was stipulated by the Party Wall Award.

Under section 9 of the Limitation Act 1980, an adjoining owner can make a claim directly to the Court for monies due under a statute. It is worth noting that a claim under this section must be commenced within six years of the date that the claim arose.

For example, let’s say 18 months after the building owner has completed their works, the adjoining owner’s building starts to subside as a direct result of the works carried out under a valid Award that was served on all of the parties. Even though the adjoining owner was not aware of the damage caused by the works until some 18 months after they had been completed, the limitation period to file a claim will start ticking from the date upon which it can be established the damage was caused.

It might be worth noting that there is no statutory limitation period with regard to surveyors, and it would appear under sections 10 (1) and 10(12) (c) of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996, surveyors have been granted powers to act in relation to; “any other matter arising out of or incidental to the dispute”. In addition, there is no time limitation restrictions on surveyors to resolve disputes. It would therefore appear that as long as the damage caused to an adjoining owners property, was caused by works that had been carried out under a Party Wall Award, a surveyor has the power under the Act, to either enforce compensation under the original Award or, draw up a new Award to enforce the building owner to make good the damage caused to the adjoining owner's property and/or award to damages and costs for the damage caused. If the building owner fails to comply with the terms or conditions of the new Award, an application to the Court to enforce it must be made within 6 years of the date of the new Award.

Litigation can be a long, drawn-out, and costly exercise, Icon Surveyors would therefore suggest that such action is truly one of last resort. As Party Wall Awards can be tricky to negotiate, we at Icon Surveyors are happy to provide a free consultation of impartial advice to anyone who may be concerned or confused with any of the matters discussed in this blog.

Icon Surveyors

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.