Party Wall Agreements and Notices
A Party Wall is a wall shared between two properties, typically seen in a terrace house or semi detached or shared structures such as the floors between apartments. If your extension involves building or digging foundations within 3m of a party (shared) wall or other foundations, then you may require a Party Wall Agreement.
A Party Wall Award (Agreement) means that your neighbours have given consent to the work being carried out will protect you and your neighbour if anything goes wrong.
It’s not essential to obtain a Party Wall Agreement, but not having an agreement in place could mean that:
- Your neighbours may be sent letters from Party Wall Surveyors trying to get work which may cause anxiety and result in unnecessary fees
- Your neighbours can have an injunction issued against you to stop further work until a Party Wall Agreement is arranged
- Your neighbours may seek compensation against you if they can prove they have suffered damage as a result of the work
To comply with the act, you can issue a Party Wall Notice yourself by writing to each neighbour that will be affected and including your contact information, full details of the work to be carried out, access requirements and the proposed date of commencement. You can find letter templates and a Party Wall Act explanatory booklet (which may be useful to give to your neighbours so they know what they are agreeing to) at gov.uk; Preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls.
Your neighbour has 14 days to respond and give their consent, or request a Party Wall Settlement. If they agree to the works in writing, you will not require a Party Wall Agreement and this can save on the fees, which are typically £700 to £900 per neighbour.
If the neighbour refuses to give consent or fails to respond within 14 days, then they are deemed to be ‘in dispute’. If you fail to reach an agreement, then a surveyor will need to be appointed to arrange a Party Wall Award that will set out the details of the work.
A surveyor will undertake a schedule of conditions of your neighbours, recording any cracks etc. so that way you will not get any claims against you which are not fair. Also the Award can agree how your property will join another, like a join in a roof etc.
Your neighbour has the right to have their own surveyor at your cost so get them to suggest the Party Wall Surveyor, then that surveyor will act for all parties. Otherwise, if you choose your own surveyor, then your neighbour requests someone different you’ll have to pay for both!
Yoop Architects will submit and manage any planning approvals on your behalf and chase them up until we get the OK so you don’t have to worry about them. To find out more about how Yoop can help you create your dream extension, go ahead and book a free call below.
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