If you’re planning on undertaking any type of building work that involves altering or building on the boundary line between your property and a neighbor’s, you may need to enter into a party wall agreement.
A party wall agreement is a legal contract between you and your neighbor regarding the shared wall or boundary line. The agreement sets out the work that you plan to carry out and the measures you will take to ensure that the work does not cause damage to your neighbor’s property.
Here’s a guide to party wall agreements to help you understand the process and requirements:
1. Understanding the Party Wall Act
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 sets out the legal framework governing party wall agreements. The law applies to work on shared walls, boundary fences, and excavations near a neighbor’s property.
The Act requires that you serve notice on your neighbor before starting the work. The notice should include details about the proposed work, the anticipated start date, and the anticipated duration of the project.
2. Serving the Party Wall Notice
The party wall notice should be served at least two months before the proposed start date, and it’s essential to make sure that the notice is correct and properly served.
If you don’t serve the notice correctly, your neighbor can apply to stop the work, which could cause delays and additional costs.
3. Responding to the Party Wall Notice
Once you’ve served the party wall notice, your neighbor has 14 days to respond. They can agree to the work, disagree with the work, or ask for changes to be made to the party wall agreement.
If your neighbor agrees to the work, you can proceed without further delay. If they disagree or request changes, you will need to negotiate with them to find a solution that works for both parties.
4. Appointing a Party Wall Surveyor
If you and your neighbor can’t come to an agreement, you will need to appoint a party wall surveyor to make a decision on the dispute.
The surveyor will visit both properties to assess the work and decide on what measures are necessary to prevent damage to your neighbor’s property. They will then prepare a party wall award, which sets out the details of the work and the measures that need to be taken.
5. Completing the Party Wall Agreement
Once you and your neighbor have agreed on the work and the measures to be taken, you can sign the party wall agreement. The agreement is a legally binding contract, and it’s essential to make sure that you understand and agree with all the terms before signing.
A party wall agreement is an important legal document that can protect your property rights and prevent disputes with your neighbors. By following this guide to party wall agreements, you can ensure that you comply with the Party Wall Act and protect yourself from potential legal problems.