The Party Wall Act is an essential piece of legislation in the UK that regulates the rights and responsibilities of property owners when carrying out building works that may affect a shared wall or boundary. If you're planning to undertake building works that fall under the scope of the Party Wall Act, it's essential to understand what this law entails.
Here are the top questions about the Party Wall Act that property owners commonly ask.
1. What is the Party Wall Act?
The Party Wall Act is a law that applies to building works that may affect the shared walls, boundaries, and structures between neighbouring properties. The Act aims to prevent disputes between neighbours and provide a framework for resolving conflicts during building works.
2. What Types of Building Works Fall under the Party Wall Act?
The Act applies to various types of building works, such as:
- Building a new wall on the boundary line between two properties
- Cutting into a shared wall to insert a beam or support
- Underpinning a party wall
- Excavating within three metres of a neighbouring property's foundation
- Excavating within six metres of a neighbouring property's foundation if the excavation goes below a line drawn at 45 degrees from the bottom of the neighbouring foundation.
3. What Is UK's Party Wall Agreement?
This legally binding file sets out property owners' rights and responsibilities when building works that affect a shared wall or boundary. All involved parties should sign the agreement and include details such as the scope of the results, the time frame, and the cost.
4. Who Is Responsible for Serving Notice under the Party Wall Act?
The person carrying out the building works (the "building owner") is responsible for serving notice to any neighbouring property owners affected by the works. The notice must be served at least two months before the works begin.
5. What If My Neighbour Refuses to Sign the Party Wall Agreement?
If your neighbour refuses to sign the party wall agreement, you must appoint a surveyor to act on your behalf. The surveyor will provide a party wall award, a legally binding document that sets out the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved. The award will include details such as the scope of the works, the time frame, and the cost.
6. Can I Carry Out Building Works without Serving Notice under the Party Wall Act?
You must serve notice to the affected neighbouring property owners to carry out building works that fall under the scope of the Party Wall Act. Failure to serve notice can result in legal action being taken against you.
7. What Happens If a Dispute Is Under the Party Wall Act?
If a dispute arises under the Party Wall Act, the parties involved can appoint an agreed surveyor, or each party can appoint separately certified surveyors. The certified surveyors will act as an independent third party and decide on the dispute. Their decision is legally binding.
The Party Wall Act is an important law that regulates building works that may affect shared walls and boundaries between neighbouring properties. If you plan to undertake such works, it's vital to understand your rights and responsibilities under the Act and promptly notify all affected parties. If a dispute arises, it's best to choose a surveyor to act on your behalf and ensure the dispute is resolved fairly and legally.
Icon Surveyors is a top-notch surveying firm that provides comprehensive residential surveying services across England and Wales. With a focus on Party Wall Surveying, Boundary Surveying, Building Surveying, and Valuation, we are experts in their field and offer unparalleled expertise to their clients. Whether you're a homeowner, property developer, or investor who needs certified surveyors in Central London, contact us today.