The majority of UK dwellings have wall-to-wall setups where neighbours are literally one layer of wood, brick or concrete away from each other. In spite of the space saving benefit that this arrangement offers, the risk of conflict is significantly high. It is for this reason that the Party Wall Act exists. This legislation was introduced as a way to mitigate the many challenges brought about by different individuals sharing home walls or space boundaries and the resulting conflicts. Below is all you need to know about party wall matters and how best to ensure you do not end up on the wrong side of the law.
Legislation Guiding Party Wall Matters
The laws applicable here are found in the Party Wall Act. Under this act, party walls are recognised as shared property. This means that no changes may be effected without the consent of the neighbours. Whether it is extending a fence or tearing down a wall, you would have to follow the stipulated guidelines. This is done in order to ensure that none of the other parties involved are short changed by your move. The act also spells out conflict resolution strategies in the event of major disagreements.
Getting Consent From Neighbours
If you decide to get some work done on your side of the wall, you are required by law to notify the neighbours sharing that wall. The notices are usually in writing and could be fliers, newspaper announcements or direct notice deliveries. This allows the other parties to understand your intentions and their implications. Once the notices are issued, there are three possible outcomes. The first is issuance of consent where the neighbour is not opposed to you making the stipulated changes to the shared property. The other possible outcome is complete denial of permission. More often than not, neighbours hesitate to give their consent in party wall matters on account of apprehension about things like security, noise and wall stability when tampered with. Finally, you may have neighbours who do not respond in any way to your notice.
With the law playing such a pivotal role in party wall matters, it goes without saying that legal counsel and representation is important to consider. With over 35 years' experience in dealing with party wall and boundary disputes, our head of building surveying, David Moon, is a past chairman of the Pyramus & Thisbee Club, the leading organisation for party wall professionals. Using the advice and service of someone like David is especially the case when you are anticipating resistance to changes you wish to make. Below are a few of the benefits you have to look forward to if you have a professional firm such as Davis Brown assisting in the matter:
- You get assistance with drafting and issuing notices.
- You get advice on how to proceed under the law whether the neighbours agree or disagree.
- We help prepare agreements and awards when consent is given.
- You may need legal representation in the event of damage or injury during the projects.
After all is said and done, party wall matters are very sensitive. The last thing anyone wants is to be on bad terms with a neighbour over something as simple as a wall. By using the services of an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor it will only assist in the process and ensure professional handling of party wall matters to ensure that you comply with the Act and avoid delays. Please contact us today on 020 7637 1066 for further information.