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Party Wall (WikiPedia)
Party Wall Act
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is an enabling Act, insofar as it gives the owner of a residential or commercial property the legal right to carry out certain works that may otherwise constitute trespass or nuisance.
Nevertheless, it likewise seeks to protect the interests of adjacent owners from any potentially negative impacts that such works might have by enforcing a requirement that all adjacent owners be provided prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act provides for a mandatory disagreement resolution procedure mediated by a statutorily designated property surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have issues about the execution of any proposal so alerted.
Specifically, such notice needs to be served where the owner of a property (known as ‘the structure owner’) plans to carry out any building work described in Areas 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Note that it is only those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is restricted to the following:
- Area 1 uses where it is proposed to set up a new wall at a border that is not currently built on.
- Area 2 concerns existing party structures, which include party floors, walls and partitions (that different structures or parts of buildings), party fence walls (basically a boundary wall in between lands in separate ownership which is developed astride a border) and, in some circumstances, a neighbour’s independent residential or commercial property.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations as much as 6 m away from a structure or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth requirements which the Act sets out.
The information that Sees need to supply in regard of works covered the above sections is different in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Area 6 Notifications are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notice relating to Section 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is very important to note that the credibility of any notice not providing all the pertinent info or served in the inaccurate manner, could be open up to challenge in Court.
There is no basic form of Notification although many people use those published by the RICS or variations added to the explanatory brochure provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Provided all the info required by the relevant area of the Act is present, a simple letter would be similarly legitimate.
Depending upon the scenarios of any provided job there may be more than one adjacent owner on whom discover needs to be served in regard of the same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner might be besides an instant neighbour. It is constantly more effective to go over the intended deal with adjacent owners prior to serving them with official written notice – a proposition well discussed may ease concerns enough to prevent a conflict occurring and prevent the requirement to select surveyors.
There are two exceptions where the requirement to serve notice might be avoided:
- De minimis works: The federal government’s explanatory pamphlet says that some deal with a party wall might be so minor that service of notification under the Act would be normally considered not needed and give as examples works not likely to impact 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 circuitry or inserting power sockets, and screws to support shelves, cooking area cupboards, and so on.
- Works under Area 2 of the Act provided that written authorization is obtained from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The three types of Notice are understood, respectively as:
- Section 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Area 6: Notice of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification should be served at least 2 months prior to the date on which it is proposed to begin that work. The other two notices need to be served a minimum of one month prior to work commencing.
The compulsory details which Sees must include are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notice:
- An indication of the structure owner’s desire to build a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notification:
- The name and address of the building owner.
- The nature and particulars of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will begin.
- Notice of Adjacent Excavation:
- An indicator of the building owner’s propositions.
- A declaration regarding whether or not the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise reinforce or safeguard the foundations of the building or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying areas and plans revealing: a) the website and depth of any excavation the structure owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to put up a structure or structure, its website.
Most of the pro-forma notifications in use include the following details as a matter of course regardless of the type of notice:
- The date of the notification.
- The name and addresses of both the building and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the residential or commercial properties being worked on/affected if different).
- A statement as to the start of works relative to the appropriate notice duration.
- An advisory note discussing what takes place if the recipient actively dissents from the works or stops working to respond within 2 week.
Area 10 of the Act specifies that where an adjoining owner does not consent in writing to works informed by the structure owner under Areas 3 and 6, both celebrations must either settle on the appointment of a single surveyor to act for both of them (known as the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each select their own property surveyor, to figure out by award matters in dispute between the celebrations.
Where a project is straightforward, this may just include consideration of the time and manner in which those works are to be carried out. In more complex schemes, thought will need to be provided to a commensurately greater number of factors and undoubtedly 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 very same treatment is used to solve any subsequent conflicts in between neighbouring owners that might develop in relation to the alerted works, including any loss or damage suffered by an adjacent owner as a result of their execution.
Inactiveness on the part of the adjacent owner does not halt the statutory process. A dispute can occur by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the structure owner an objection in regard of some matter developing out of or incidental to the works – the methods of making that objection are not important, but if he remains quiet, neither dissenting nor consenting for a duration of 2 week after having been served with a Notice under either Area 3 or Area 6, the Act considers a dissent to have actually arisen in any event.
There is no deemed dissent arrangement in Area 1 of the Act. A valid conflict can still emerge, and surveyors be appointed in accordance with Area 10, in respect of works alerted under that section however just as regards real dissent on specific grounds. An adjoining owner’s reasons for contesting Section 2 and Area 6 works are rarely specified prior to the consultation of surveyors and oftentimes not even then.
Where dissent has developed, whether actual or considered, both owners are lawfully obliged to appoint a concurred surveyor or, if they can not collectively agree on a single person, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such a visit by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the request being served. Failure to comply, instantly gives the owner making the request the statutory authority to designate a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where 2 property surveyors are selected, they are required to agree upon the choice, in composing, of a 3rd surveyor who may be called upon by either of the surveyors or either of the celebrations to identify the contested matters and make the required award. The third surveyor is never ever designated by anybody but the Act offers the individual so selected the same statutory powers as the two property surveyors.
Third property surveyors are most frequently called upon where the two surveyors have actually reached a deadlock in their deliberations over some specific point and often this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the fees of the surveyor appointed by the adjoining owner. Seldom will a 3rd surveyor be asked to prepare an award in regard of the entire works but may accompany one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the need develops.
There is no definition of who can be a surveyor, but it ought to not be the same person that will supervise the works.
The award will set out the works that can be performed, who will pay the costs for the preparation of the award and evaluation of the works to make sure that they abide by the works, and who will pay for the works. If the work is solely for the benefit of the building owner, then they will generally be required to pay the charges and the expense of the works.
If they disagree with the award, celebrations have 14 days to appeal to the county court.
The Act enables access to the adjoining residential or commercial property for the functions of performing the works whether the adjacent owner gives permission or not, however they need to be provided 14 days notice.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 implies that from 6 April 2016, notices and other files can be served by electronic communications.
The info that Notices must offer in respect 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 sections however the requirements of a Notification relating to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A legitimate disagreement can still arise, and property surveyors be selected in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works notified under that area but only as relates to actual dissent on specific premises. An adjacent owner’s reasons for challenging Area 2 and Area 6 works are hardly ever defined prior to the consultation of surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually occurred, whether actual or considered, both owners are legally required to appoint a concurred property surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a surveyor each and if requested to make such a visit by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
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