Party Wall Questions

Icon Surveyors are often asked questions relating to whether a Party Wall Notice needs to be served for certain works that our readers are intending to carry out, below we have answered a couple of the questions that have been posed to us.

Question 1: My neighbours have applied for planning permission to build a first-floor extension onto their house. Do they have to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor? And if so, who is liable to pay the fee?

Answer:

Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, your neighbours are legally obliged to give party wall notice to any adjoining owners that will be affected by the works. Therefore, a notice must be served on you if your property will be affected by the works being carried out.

You are entitled to consent to the works or indeed disagree with all or any part of the works being carried out. If you do not give consent within a certain time or you disagree with any of the proposed works being carried out, then under the Act a dispute will be considered to have taken place. In that instance, your neighbours must appoint a Party Wall Surveyor to resolve the dispute. If you are not happy with the Party Wall Surveyor of your neighbour’s choice, the Act states that you are entitled to appoint your own Party Wall Surveyor to represent you and protect your interests.

In these circumstances, under the Act, your neighbours will usually be liable for all of the Party Wall surveyor(s) fees. However, a Party Wall Surveyor does have the discretion to determine who is responsible for the fees under section 10(13) of the Act.

Question 2: If I have rebuilt a boundary wall that I used to share with my friend and neighbour and I paid for it myself, do I own all of the interest in the new wall if I have not asked my neighbour for half of the few hundred pounds that I laid out to have it built?

Answer:

The short answer is no. Under the Act, firstly you would have to prove that you built the new wall as a result of it being in disrepair owing to your neighbour’s negligence and that s/he was responsible for the whole repair. Even then, there are procedures whereby you might only be entitled to a certain percentage of the costs to rebuild the wall.

The fact that you have failed to ask your neighbour for any contribution towards the rebuild would negate any entitlement you may otherwise have to claim any percentage of the wall belonging to your neighbour.

In consideration of the number of monies you say is owed, the most prudent solution would simply be to ask your neighbour for their half of the costs. If that fails, you have the option to apply to the County Court under the Civil Money Claims procedure for the sums owed. However, the costs to do this might outweigh the benefits of having a friend as a neighbour!

If any of the matters raised in this blog concern you, Icon Surveyors would be happy to assist with any questions you may have.

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.