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Party Wall (WikiPedia)
A party wall (occasionally parti-wall or parting wall, also known as common wall or as a demising wall) is a dividing partition between two adjoining buildings that is shared by the occupants of each residence or business. Typically, the builder lays the wall along a property line dividing two terraced houses, so that one half of the wall’s thickness lies on each side. This type of wall is usually structural. Party walls can also be formed by two abutting walls built at different times. The term can be also used to describe a division between separate units within a multi-unit apartment complex. Very often the wall in this case is non-structural but designed to meet established criteria for sound and/or fire protection, i.e. a firewall.
Party Wall Act
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is an allowing Act, insofar as it approves the owner of a property the legal right to undertake particular works that might otherwise constitute trespass or annoyance.
Nevertheless, it likewise seeks to secure the interests of adjoining owners from any potentially adverse impacts that such works may have by enforcing a requirement that all adjacent owners be provided prior notification of them.
In addition, the Act offers a necessary dispute resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily designated property surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the application of any proposal so notified.
Specifically, such notice needs to be served where the owner of a home (called ‘the structure owner’) plans to undertake any construction work described in Sections 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Note that it is just those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is limited to the following:
- Section 1 uses where it is proposed to put up a new wall at a border that is not already built on.
- Section 2 concerns existing party structures, that include party partitions, floorings and walls (that separate structures or parts of buildings), party fence walls (essentially a boundary wall in between lands in separate ownership which is built astride a boundary) and, in some circumstances, a neighbour’s independent residential or commercial property.
- Area 6 can apply to excavations as much as 6 m far from a building or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The information that Discovers need to provide in regard of works covered the above sections is different in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Section 6 Notifications are set out in those areas however the requirements of a Notification connecting to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. It is necessary to keep in mind that the credibility of any notification not providing all the pertinent info or served in the inaccurate manner, could be available to challenge in Court.
There is no basic type of Notification although many people use those released by the RICS or versions added to the explanatory brochure issued by the Department for Communities and City Government. However, provided all the info required by the pertinent section of the Act exists, an easy letter would be equally valid.
Depending on the circumstances of any provided task there may be more than one adjoining owner on whom see requirements to be served in respect of the exact same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner might be aside from an instant neighbour. It is always more effective to go over the intended works with adjoining owners before serving them with formal composed notification – a proposition well described may relieve concerns enough to prevent a conflict arising and prevent the requirement to select surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the requirement to serve notice might be prevented:
- De minimis works: The federal government’s explanatory pamphlet says that some deal with a party wall may be so minor that service of notification under the Act would be usually regarded as not needed and give as examples works not likely to affect the structural strength or support functions of a party structure or cause damage to the neighbours side of it, such as re-plastering, shallow chasing for electrical wiring or inserting power sockets, and screws to support shelves, cooking area cabinets, and so forth.
- Works under Area 2 of the Act provided that written consent is gotten from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The three types of Notification are understood, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Section 6: Notice of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification must be served a minimum of two months prior to the date on which it is proposed to start that work. The other two notifications should be served at least one month prior to work beginning.
The necessary details which Observes should consist of are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notice:
- An indication of the building owner’s desire to build a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notification:
- The name and address of the structure owner.
- The nature and details of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will begin.
- Notification of Adjacent Excavation:
- A sign of the structure owner’s propositions.
- A statement regarding whether the building owner proposes to underpin or otherwise reinforce or protect the foundations of the building or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying strategies and areas revealing: a) the website and depth of any excavation the building owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to set up a structure or structure, its site.
The majority of the pro-forma notifications in use consist of the following details as a matter of course no matter the type of notice:
- The date of the notice.
- If different), the name and addresses of both the structure and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the properties being worked on/affected.
- A statement as to the commencement of works relative to the suitable notification period.
- If the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to react within 14 days, an advisory note explaining what happens.
Section 10 of the Act states that where an adjoining owner does not authorization in writing to works notified by the building owner under Areas 3 and 6, both celebrations need to either agree on the consultation of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (known as the Agreed Surveyor), or each select their own surveyor, to figure out by award matters in dispute in between the celebrations.
Where a job is straightforward, this might just involve consideration of the time and manner in which those works are to be carried out. In more complex plans, believed will need to be given to a commensurately greater number of factors and certainly selected property surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in respect of any matter connected with any work to which the act relates.
The same treatment is used to resolve any subsequent disagreements between neighbouring owners that may arise in relation to the notified works, consisting of any loss or damage suffered by an adjoining owner as a result of their execution.
Inaction on the part of the adjoining owner does not halt the statutory procedure. A disagreement can occur by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the building owner an objection in regard of some matter occurring out of or incidental to the works – the ways of making that objection are not important, however if he remains silent, neither dissenting nor consenting for a duration of 2 week after having been served with a Notice under either Section 3 or Section 6, the Act deems a dissent to have emerged in any event.
There is no deemed dissent arrangement in Area 1 of the Act. A valid conflict can still develop, and surveyors be appointed in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works informed under that section however just as concerns real dissent on specific grounds. An adjacent owner’s reasons for challenging Section 2 and Section 6 works are rarely specified prior to the consultation of property surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has emerged, whether real or considered, both owners are legally obliged to designate an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such an appointment by the other party, must do so within 10 days of the request being served. Failure to comply, immediately provides the owner making the request the statutory authority to appoint a surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This procedure is set out in section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where 2 property surveyors are selected, they are obliged to agree upon the choice, in writing, of a third surveyor who may be called upon by either of the property surveyors or either of the parties to identify the disputed matters and make the essential award. The 3rd property surveyor is never selected by anyone but the Act offers the individual so chose the exact same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
Third property surveyors are most typically called upon where the two property surveyors have reached an impasse in their deliberations over some particular point and typically this can be in respect on the reasonableness of the costs of the property surveyor selected by the adjacent owner. Hardly ever will a 3rd surveyor be asked to draw up an award in regard of the entire works but may join with one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the need emerges.
There is no meaning of who can be a surveyor, but it needs to not be the same person that will supervise the works.
The award will set out the works that can be carried out, who will pay the fees for the preparation of the award and inspection of the works to ensure that they adhere to the works, and who will pay for the works. They will normally be needed to pay the charges and the expense of the works if the work is exclusively for the benefit of the structure owner.
If they disagree with the award, parties have 14 days to appeal to the county court.
The Act enables access to the adjacent residential or commercial property for the functions of carrying out the works whether the adjoining owner gives permission or not, nevertheless they should be offered 14 days notice.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 means that from 6 April 2016, notices and other documents can be served by electronic communications.
The details that Discovers should provide in regard of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Area 6 Notices are set out in those areas however the requirements of a Notification relating to Area 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A valid dispute can still arise, and property surveyors be selected in accordance with Area 10, in respect of works informed under that section however just as regards real dissent on particular grounds. An adjoining owner’s factors for disputing Area 2 and Area 6 works are hardly ever specified prior to the consultation of property surveyors and in lots of cases not even then.
Where dissent has emerged, whether real or considered, both owners are legally obliged to appoint an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a surveyor each and if requested to make such a consultation by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the request being served.
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