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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 enabling Act, insofar as it approves the owner of a home the legal right to carry out specific works that might otherwise make up trespass or nuisance.
It likewise seeks to safeguard the interests of adjacent owners from any potentially negative impacts that such works may have by enforcing a requirement that all adjoining owners be offered prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act provides for a compulsory disagreement resolution procedure mediated by a statutorily designated surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the implementation of any proposal so notified.
Specifically, such notice needs to be served where the owner of a residential or commercial property (called ‘the building owner’) plans to carry out any building work described in Areas 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Keep in mind that it is only those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is limited to the following:
- Area 1 uses where it is proposed to put up a new wall at a border that is not already built on.
- Area 2 issues existing party structures, which include party floorings, partitions and walls (that separate structures or parts of buildings), party fence walls (essentially a limit wall in between lands in separate ownership which is developed astride a limit) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent residential or commercial property.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations up to 6 m away from a building or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The details that Sees should provide in respect 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 areas but the requirements of a Notice relating to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is essential to keep in mind that the validity of any notice not providing all the relevant information or served in the inaccurate manner, could be open up to challenge in Court.
There is no standard kind of Notice although many individuals utilize those published by the RICS or variations appended to the explanatory brochure issued by the Department for Communities and City Government. Provided all the information required by the relevant area of the Act is present, a basic letter would be equally legitimate.
Depending on the circumstances of any provided project there might 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 may be other than an instant neighbour. It is always preferable to talk about the desired deal with adjacent owners before serving them with official written notification – a proposition well described might relieve issues enough to prevent a conflict occurring and prevent the necessity to select property surveyors.
There are two exceptions where the requirement to serve notice may be avoided:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory booklet says that some works on a party wall may be so minor that service of notification under the Act would be normally 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, kitchen cabinets, and so on.
- Functions under Section 2 of the Act offered that written authorization is gotten from all Adjoining Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The 3 types of Notification are known, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notice
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notification
- Section 6: Notice of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification should be served a minimum of two months before the date on which it is proposed to begin that work. The other two notices should be served a minimum of one month prior to work beginning.
The mandatory details which Discovers must contain are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notification:
- An indication of the building owner’s desire to build a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notice:
- The name and address of the building owner.
- The nature and particulars of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will start.
- Notification of Adjacent Excavation:
- An indication of the structure owner’s proposals.
- A declaration regarding whether or not the building owner proposes to underpin or otherwise enhance or safeguard the structures of the building or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying sections and plans showing: 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 include the following information as a matter of course despite the kind of notification:
- The date of the notification.
- If different), the name and addresses of both the structure and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the homes being worked on/affected.
- A declaration regarding the start of works relative to the suitable notification duration.
- If the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to react within 14 days, an advisory note discussing what occurs.
Section 10 of the Act states that where an adjoining owner does not consent in writing to works informed by the structure owner under Sections 3 and 6, both celebrations must either agree on the visit of a single surveyor to act for both of them (referred to as the Agreed Surveyor), or each select their own property surveyor, to figure out by award matters in dispute in between the celebrations.
Where a job is straightforward, this may only include factor to consider of the time and way in which those works are to be performed. In more complex schemes, thought will have to be offered to a commensurately greater number of elements and undoubtedly selected surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in regard of any matter gotten in touch with any work to which the act relates.
The very same treatment is used to resolve any subsequent conflicts in between neighbouring owners that may occur in relation to the notified works, consisting of any loss or damage suffered by an adjacent owner as a result of their execution.
Inaction on the part of the adjacent owner does not halt the statutory process. A disagreement can occur by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the structure owner an objection in respect of some matter developing out of or incidental to the works – the ways of making that objection are not important, but if he remains quiet, neither consenting nor dissenting for a period of 14 days after having been served with a Notification under either Area 3 or Area 6, the Act considers a dissent to have actually emerged in any event.
There is no deemed dissent provision in Area 1 of the Act. A valid conflict can still emerge, and surveyors be designated in accordance with Area 10, in regard of works informed under that area but just as regards actual dissent on specific grounds. An adjacent owner’s factors for disputing Area 2 and Section 6 works are seldom specified prior to the appointment of surveyors and oftentimes not even then.
Where dissent has actually emerged, whether actual or considered, both owners are lawfully obliged to designate an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not jointly settle on a bachelor, a property 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, immediately offers the owner making the demand the statutory authority to appoint a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This procedure is set out in area 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two property surveyors are selected, they are required to agree upon the choice, in writing, of a third property surveyor who might be hired by either of the surveyors or either of the celebrations to identify the challenged matters and make the necessary award. The third property surveyor is never designated by anybody however the Act offers the individual so picked the very same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
Third surveyors are most commonly called upon where the two surveyors have reached a deadlock in their deliberations over some particular point and frequently this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the costs of the property surveyor appointed by the adjacent owner. Rarely will a third surveyor be asked to draw up an award in regard of the whole works but may accompany one or other of the two property surveyors to do so if the requirement occurs.
There is no definition of who can be a surveyor, however it must 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 charges for the preparation of the award and assessment of the works to guarantee that they adhere to the works, and who will spend for the works. They will usually be required to pay the charges and the cost of the works if the work is entirely 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 allows access to the adjacent property for the functions of performing the works whether the adjoining owner gives permission or not, nevertheless they need to be provided 14 days notice.
NB: The intro of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 indicates that from 6 April 2016, notices and other files can be served by electronic interactions.
The details that Discovers must offer in respect of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Area 6 Notices are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notification relating to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A valid dispute can still occur, and property surveyors be selected in accordance with Area 10, in respect of works informed under that area however just as regards real dissent on particular grounds. An adjoining owner’s factors for contesting Section 2 and Area 6 works are seldom specified prior to the visit of property surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually arisen, whether actual or deemed, both owners are legally obliged to select an agreed surveyor or, if they can not collectively agree on a single individual, a property surveyor each and if requested to make such an appointment by the other party, must do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
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