Party Walls

What Is The Party Wall etc Act 1996

A legal framework for:

–preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings

–exercising rights and obligations between building owners and  adjoining owners and

Provides a Building Owner with additional rights going beyond ordinary common law rights.

Offers protection from nuisance to an Adjoining Owner when a Building Owner plans work that requires notice to be issued

What Type of Works Does It Cover

–Section 1: new building on or at the boundary of 2 properties

  • e.g. building a new wall on or at the boundary of 2 properties

–Section 2: work to an existing party wall or party structure

  • e.g. cutting into a party wall
  • e.g. making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper
  • e.g. removing chimney breasts from a party wall
  • e.g. knocking down and rebuilding a party wall

–Section 6: excavation near to and below the foundation level of neighbouring buildings

  • digging below the foundation level of a neighbour’s property

It cannot be used to frustrate or impede works which have been granted planning or building control permission

What is a Party Wall

Type A wall is a “party wall“ if it stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two (or more) different owners –

or separates two (or more) buildings

Type A wall is a “party wall“ if it stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two (or more) different owners:

being part of one building

Type A wall is a “party wall“ if it stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two (or more) different owners –

  • or consists of a “party fence wall

Type B wall is also a “party wall” if it stands wholly on one owner’s land, but is used by two (or more) owners to separate their buildings

What is a Party Structure

A wall or floor, partition or other structure separating buildings or parts of buildings approached by separate staircases or entrances; for example flats

Walls That Are Not Party Walls

  • Boundary walls (a fence wall/garden wall built wholly on one owner’s land) and
  • External walls (the wall of a building built up to but not astride the boundary)

Do I Need to Serve Notice Under The Act

You are legally obliged to give your neighbour notice if any of the work you plan to do falls within the following definitions:

  • New building on the boundary line between neighbouring pieces of land (Section 1 of the Act) – 1 months notice
  • Work on existing party walls or structures (Section 2 of the Act) – 2 months notice
  • Excavation nearneighbouring buildings (Section 6 of the Act) – 1 months notice

Notice Validity Period

  • Notices properly issued under the Act are only valid for a year, so do not serve too long before work is intended to start.

 

Policing Authority

The Act contains no enforcement procedures for failure to serve a notice. However, if you start work without having first given notice in the proper way, Adjoining Owners may seek to stop your work through a court injunction or seek other legal redress