PARTY WALL DISPUTES
A party wall is a wall erected on the boundary to two properties. It serves both. Other party structures include party fences. The relevant statute is the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 (“the Act”).
Although party walls can be found in any part of the country most party wall issues and party wall disputes arise in towns and cities. They can relate to commercial or residential property and often arise in relation to the construction of extensions, basements and penthouses.
If work needs to be done to or near a party wall the building owner will usually instruct a building surveyor who has experience in dealing with party wall issues (“a party wall surveyor”). The party wall surveyor will advise, deal with the Party Wall Act notice that needs to be served on the adjoining owner and guide the building owner through the process. In most cases if there are any problems they are resolved by the parties’ surveyors.
The increasing amount of development in relation to existing buildings, particularly in London, brings with it more party wall issues and party wall disputes. Sometimes building owners ignore the Act, and some only pay lip-service to it. A building owner causing damage to the adjoining owner’s property before he has been given notice under the Act is a fairly common breach of statutory duty. Disputes arising after notice has been given include disputes about the appointment of a third surveyor, fees, and what can and cannot be done under the Act.
We provide party wall advice and represent clients in party wall disputes under the Act and in related appeals.