Are you thinking about doing some construction on your property? If so, there’s something you might need to consider. You might have to enter into a party wall agreement if your construction project involves a shared wall with a neighbour. This agreement is a legally binding document specifying the rights and obligations of you both in your building’s maintenance, and repair to prevent building-related conflicts, delays, and costs.
However, what are the legal consequences of party wall agreements? How will they ensure your property and rights are protected? What should you do if you and your neighbour or party wall surveyor disagree? In this blog post, we will address these issues and provide practical guidance for addressing party wall agreements.
What Is A Party Wall Agreement Exactly?
A party wall agreement is a written contract between two or more property owners who share a wall, barrier, or floor. The Party Wall, etc. Act of 1996, which applies to England and Wales, stipulates the necessity of a party wall agreement. The Act seeks to make construction work easier while preventing or resolving any emerging problems.
Typical clauses in a party wall agreement include the following:
- The nature and scope of the construction work
- Each party’s rights and obligations
- Compensation for any damage or inconvenience caused by the work
- The appointment and costs of a party wall surveyor
- The dispute resolution process
A party wall agreement can be a notice of consent, a simple agreement between the parties that does not require the services of a surveyor, or a party wall award, a more detailed agreement prepared by a surveyor after viewing the properties and discussing with the parties.
The agreement must be served on the adjoining owner at least two months before construction begins. The adjoining owner can agree to the work, object, request an award, or do nothing. If the adjoining owner does not take action within 14 days, they are considered dissented, and an award is required.
How Does A Party Wall Agreement Protect Your Property and Rights?
A party wall agreement can safeguard your property and rights in a variety of ways, including:
- Ensuring that the construction work is done safely and correctly without causing any harm or disruption to your property or enjoyment.
- Granting you fair access to your neighbour’s property to carry out the task
- Entitles you to compensation for any loss or damage caused by the work, as well as compensation for any temporary inconvenience such as noise, dust, or vibration
- Allows you to inspect the work and raise any concerns or objections with the surveyor
- Provides a legal remedy for a breach or dispute arising from the work.
What Should You Do If You Disagree with Your Neighbour or The Party Wall Surveyor?
If you disagree with your neighbour or the party wall surveyor, attempt to address it politely and productively. However, if that fails to provide results, the following are some common difficulties and possible solutions:
- Your neighbour does not respond to your consent or award notification.
Solution: Continue with the task as planned, but retain documents and evidence of your notice and the work done. You should also notify your neighbours if there are any adjustments or delays in the work.
- Your neighbour objects to your consent or award notice.
Solution: You can bargain with your neighbour and reach an agreement. If that fails, you might employ a surveyor to prepare a binding award for both parties.
- Your neighbour damages or interferes with your property or work.
Solution: You can request that your neighbour halt or correct the issue. If it fails, you can seek compensation from your neighbours or a court injunction.
- You are dissatisfied with the surveyor’s award or behaviour.
Solution: You must file an appeal 14 days after receiving the award. You can also file a complaint with the surveyor’s professional body or regulation.
Understanding the legal implications of party wall agreements is crucial in protecting your property rights in the event of a construction project involving shared walls with neighbours. These agreements provide a framework for safe and fair construction practices, ensuring due compensation for any damages or inconveniences.
If you’re a London resident of Kingston Upon Thames requiring a surveyor for party wall issues, Simmons Taylor Hall are Surveyors Kingston homeowners have trusted in for such services with pleasing result for over 30 years.