Resolving Party Wall Disputes
- If you or the owners of the neighbouring property are intending upon carrying out building works such as extensions or loft conversions, more likely than not, you will need to comply with the Party Wall Act otherwise you will be acting outside of the law.
- The type of work that the Party Wall Act covers includes most type of work undertaken to the boundary wall between two separate properties or very close to the boundary wall and in particular the Party Wall Act covers the following;
- Any construction which runs along the boundary of two properties;
- Any excavations within a certain distance between two properties;
- Any alterations to a party structure
- Although most works which fall into the above said criteria will fall within the Party Wall Act, for an accurate assessment of your particular case, we would invite you to contact our offices whereon a specialist solicitor will determine whether or not the Party Wall Act procedure needs to be followed in your particular case.
Procedure for Party Wall Notices
- As a result of the above said, prior to undertaking any major renovations or construction works that could potentially affect a party wall, the individuals seeking to undertaking such works should first seek consent from the adjoining owner. This is an important step and surprisingly many homeowners fail to follow the correct procedure which ultimately entails that they are operating outside of the law. Often this is as a result of confusion rather than a deliberate act due to the mistaken belief that as they have obtained planning permission they can proceed forward with construction works, however this is not the case and thereby to avoid finding yourself embroiled in any expensive litigious action for a breach of the law, a homeowner in these circumstances is strongly advised to contact someone with the appropriate knowledge to resolve such matters, which often can be resolved fairly easily provided the right help and assistance is sought prior to commencing any works. Our offices have experienced personnel who will be to assist in this regard.
- In the event that you find yourself in the position whereon the correct procedure has not been followed and construction works have commenced which affect the party wall and the owner of the adjoining property is objecting, under such circumstances you are strongly advised to contact our offices as we are specialists in such matters. You will be well advised in such circumstances to act quickly to minimise any further risk because if formal action is taken, the potential cost can amount to many thousands of pounds. In such circumstances, the owners of the adjoining property do have the option to make an application to the Court for an injunction, which if granted would stop you from carrying out any further work until matters have been resolved. Conversely, if you are the neighbour of a property which is being renovated / subject to construction works affecting the party wall, you have the right to seek that the owner stop any works until the formal procedure is followed or else threaten a formal application to Court for an injunction. However, the pros and cons of doing so do need to carefully be balanced as there can be significant cost consequences if applications are brought in the wrong circumstances and thereby one who finds themselves in such circumstances are strongly advised to seek appropriate professional assistance. In both circumstances, our offices are able to assist and thereby you would be encouraged to contact a member of our team who will be happy to assist.
In a nutshell, if you are a property owner, you should not start works that affect the party wall until the appropriate notice has been served and agreement reached. Please note that if the notice has been served and no response has been received, under such circumstances it will not suffice to deem that consent has been provided, and thereby you will need assistance should the said occur before commencing any works otherwise you will be operating outside of the law. If you are a neighbour to a house owner who is intending upon commencing works to ensure that your interests are best served, you will be well advised to seek the assistance of an appropriate professional to ensure that the condition of your property is formally recorded and agreement reached as to how any matters would be resolved in case of dispute. There are many other aspects that will need to be considered and our solicitors can help in better understanding to your particular circumstances and thereby we would encourage you to get in touch if you need any advice and assistance in this regard.