If your property has a wall or other boundary structure that is shared with your neighbour, then you need to be aware of the rights and obligations imposed by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act).
If you are considering making changes to a party wall or carrying out work with affects it, you are required to give notice to the owners of the adjacent property. Similarly, you should receive notice if your neighbours intend to carry out works. The requirement for notice under the terms of the Act includes proposals for new building at the boundary line and excavation near a boundary.
Where neighbours disagree over the work to be carried out, there is a process to go through to try and resolve matters. This can involve putting a Party Wall agreement in place. It is important to ensure that the correct procedure is followed if you intend to carry out work on a party wall or boundary or you could be required to undo changes you have made.
At Preston Redman, our party wall dispute solicitors in Bournemouth have extensive expertise in dealing with disagreements. Our team will be happy to deal with you over the phone, by email, via videoconferencing or in person at our offices, whichever is most convenient for you.
To speak to one of our highly experienced solicitors for party wall disputes in Bournemouth, please contact our Bournemouth office on 01202 292 424 or fill in our online enquiry form for a quick response.
How our party wall solicitors can help you
Our party wall dispute solicitors in Bournemouth deal with a full range of party wall issues, including:
- Advice on party wall works and service of party wall notices
- Objections to proposed party wall works
- Party wall agreements and party wall disputes resolution
We also offer services in respect of boundary disputes.
We can provide party wall advice, including whether the work you are proposing requires notice to be served. If so, we can draft and serve notice on your behalf, ensuring that the correct party wall notice period of two months is observed.
While a party wall template letter might seem like a good idea, it is important to include all the information relevant to your proposed works. We can ensure that this is done and that you are compliant with the terms of the Act, which is crucial in the event of a dispute arising.
If you have received a party wall notice from your neighbour and you wish to dispute this, we can provide party wall guidance and respond on your behalf with a counter-notice setting out any additional work you would like to happen or any modifications to the proposals that you require.
Where an agreement is reached, we will ensure that this is put in writing. Where it is not possible to find a solution, we can represent you in securing a party wall agreement.
If a party wall agreement is necessary, one or two surveyors will need to be instructed to prepare an agreement.
The Act is intended to regulate the way in which work is carried out, not to prevent it from happening. The surveyor will decide what is reasonable in the circumstances in respect of issues such as access, hours worked and insurance cover.
If there is a dispute over the surveyor to be used, a second surveyor can be appointed. Where the surveyors do not agree, it is possible to ask a third surveyor to resolve the issue.
We can advise you of the process to be followed and represent you in dealing with your neighbours and the surveyors, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected.
Common questions about party walls
What is a party wall?
A party wall is on the land of two or more owners. It can be part of a building or a garden wall, but not a garden fence. A wall that is on the land of one owner but is used by two or more parties to separate their property is also classed as a party wall.
The Act also covers party structures, which could be floors or other structures separating buildings or parts of buildings, such as the floor or ceiling of a flat.
Work to a party wall that requires notice to be served on the owners of the neighbouring property includes:
- Repairs to the party wall
- Demolition and replacement of a party wall
- Inserting a damp proof course
- Cutting into a party wall to add a beam
- Raising the height of a party wall
- Extending a party wall downwards, for example, in creating a basement
- Removing projections from a party wall, such as knocking down a chimney breast
It is not generally necessary to serve a party wall notice for minor work such as drilling into a wall to fit shelves, plastering a wall or replacing electrical sockets.
What is a party wall agreement?
A party wall agreement, also referred to as a party wall award, is a legal document usually drawn up with the assistance of one or two surveyors, setting out the following details:
- What building work will be taking place and when it is proposed to carry it out
- A schedule of condition for the adjoining property, for example, noting pre-existing cracks or other defects
- Surveyor’s drawings of the proposed work
- The hours that work will be carried out
- Access agreement
- Evidence of the contractor’s insurance
- Agreed indemnities for the adjoining owner
- How disputes over damage will be dealt with
- What compensation and costs will be paid
When do you need a party wall agreement?
A party wall agreement can be advisable when substantial work is carried out that falls under the Party Wall etc Act 1996. It can prevent expensive disputes from arising and sets out clearly what is expected of each party.
If the proposed work is relatively minor and the neighbours do not have any objections, then an agreement may not be necessary.
If the neighbours object to the proposed work, then a party wall agreement will be required.
Who pays for a party wall surveyor?
If you need to have a party wall agreement drawn up, you will need a surveyor. If you and your neighbour cannot agree on a single surveyor, you can each use your own choice.
The person who is proposing to carry out the works will generally pay both sets of surveyor’s fees.
Why choose Preston Redman’s party wall solicitors?
Disputes with neighbours can escalate quickly if not carefully managed. Our party wall dispute solicitors have experience in dealing with disagreements promptly and efficiently. We can negotiate with your neighbours or their advisor to try and reach an agreement over the work to be carried out.
Our party wall solicitors’ fees
We are able to deal with some aspects of party wall work on a fixed fee basis. We will let you know the cost at the outset so that you know exactly how much you will pay for the specified work.
For more complex matters or where the scope of work exceeds what was initially anticipated, it may be more appropriate to charge an hourly rate. We will ensure you have a solicitor with the right level of experience for your case and give you an estimate of the likely costs, to include the cost of a party wall agreement or award.