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The Party Wall etc. Act 1996                             

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The act covers both England and Wales and does not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland. The Act has been present since 1st of July 1997.

 

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What is a ‘PARTY WALL’?

 

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 was introduced in 1997 and is part of legislation that explains the rights and responsibilities when a person or persons want to plan work on a specific building.

 

The act stands alone, and provides direction regarding numerous elements not just the party wall itself.

 

The act gives consideration and explanation to

  • New walls to be constructed
  • Ceilings and floors
  • Shared structures and excavations
  • Boundary lines between properties
  • Neighbouring walls

 

mAIN principles

 

The main reason for the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is that if a person intends to construct work that could impact on the wall itself (i.e. it’s function, structure or could affect a neighbouring property) the owner/ occupier of the neighbouring property must be informed of this work. 

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 includes:

 

  • Demolition
  • Damp proof courses into a wall
  • Foundation wall changes: inclusive of changes when the wall is 3 metres of the neighbouring building and impacts upon foundations. The act further provides relevance when the property in question is introducing work when the it impeaches on a 45-degree extension from the neighbouring foundations

 

SERVING A NOTICE UNDER THE PARTY WALL ETC. 1996 ACT

Steps required when serving notice

 

Step one: Written notice provided from the intended person undertaking works to the property owner of the adjoining property. This notice must be 2 months before the works to be carried out.

 

Step two: The recipient of the notice must give written consent. If no consent is provided settlements and disputes can be managed independently or through a surveyor.

 

Step three: When both parties have come to an agreement the work must comply within the written contractual agreement. This is indicative of all matters inclusive of time and dates. Furthermore, all agreements made must be in accordance with The Party Wall etc act 1996.

 

 

PARTY WALL DISPUTES

If a dispute arises and a surveyor is appointed it is a requirement that the surveyor act in accordance with their statutory responsibilities.

 

The surveyor can act on behalf of one or both of the parties but must remain independent and impartial.

 

An appeals process can be made within 14 days, to the County Court once an award has been served.

ENCLOSURE EXPENSES

Cirumstances may arise where The Party Wall ect 1996 can be applied to financial consequencs as a result of orgninal works being carried out.

Scenarios below highlight different ways in which circumstances are applicable under The Party Wall ectc 1996 Act.

For Scenario purposes

Owner X = First orginal owner who chose to carry out party wall works to their property

Owner Y = The recipient (neighbour/ adjoining wall owner)

Scenario

  1. Owner X raises their main roof level and encloses it with a window is a form of roof window. Dormers are commonly used to increase the usable space in a loft and to create window openings in a roof plane. E.g. A loft conversion. Owner X choses to also carried out these works.
  2. Owner X builds an extension on the rear of a property. Owner Y also choses to mirror this extension.
  3. Owner X constructs a basement conversion. Owner Y can chose to make use of the changes that Owner X originally changed.

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS RESIDING UNDER SECTION 11 (11) OF THE ACT

 Briefly explained this part of the act provided explanation that Owner X is duty bound to pay a percentage of Owner Y’s property changes.

Case Law exampled Mason v Fulham Corporation (1910)  

 

HOW IS THE PAYMENT CALCULATED?

A sum is usually agreed by surveyors when disputes occur. The underlying costs will be calculated from regional specific price index and corrected to be inclusive of fees and VAT.

 

WHAT DOES ‘DUE PROPORTION’ MEAN?

This means that the cost will equate to 50% of the total amount. However, subject to specific circumstances and agreements the total may be lower.

 

WHEN DOES THE PAYMENT BECOME DUE?

Section 11(11) provides understanding that if agreed upon that the payment due date is upon agreement of both owners. However, if within a dispute the payment becomes due upon works beginning.

 

CAN “OWNER Y” AGREE TO WAIVE THE COST?

Yes, however it is recommended that the agreement should be recorded in the award for future reference.

 

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