Party Wall Legislation - Rights & Duties
The first duty under the Act requires the Building Owner to serve Notice before undertaking notifiable works.
Once the Adjoining Owner has received a Notice of the intended works he has a number of options. He can consent to the works; dissent to the works and appoint his own Surveyor or dissent to the works and appoint the same Surveyor appointed by the Building Owner to represent him too as the Agreed Surveyor.
Regardless of whether one Surveyor is appointed or two are appointed, the procedures remain very much the same. The Surveyor's role is always to administer the Act in a manner that is fair for both parties whilst bearing in mind their respective Rights and Duties, which are in general as follows:
Rights and duties of the Building Owner
The Party Wall Act gives many rights to Building Owners which may be exercised once the Award has been finalised or where the Adjoining Owner has consented to the works.
Some of the rights include:
a) To build a new boundary wall with footings encroaching onto the Adjoining Owner’s land where necessary.
b) To ‘trespass’ (after giving sufficient Notice) onto the Adjoining Owner’s land or over sail the land with scaffolding where notifiable works necessitate this.
c) During the course of the works, to interfere with the Adjoining Owner’s rights of light and create noise and other Nuisance where this is necessary in order to undertake the works.
d) To excavate close to neighbouring foundations necessitating those foundations to be underpinned (subject to covering the cost of the underpinning).
e) To cut into neighbouring walls to insert flashing or other weatherproofing.
f) To cut off overhangs in certain situations and to cut off foundation footings encroaching onto his land where necessary.
g) To raise the Party Wall including the shared chimney stack.
h) To form a basement wall below the Party Wall to the whole thickness of the Party Wall.
i) To tie the Party Wall to the neighbouring house in order to strengthen it.
j) To temporarily remove a Party Wall thereby exposing a neighbouring building where necessary (subject to paying compensation and providing protection).
Together with these rights come duties. E.g. to pay compensation where damage or other loss was caused; to strengthen the Adjoining Owner’s foundations at their own expense when their excavations are liable to weaken them.
Rights and duties of the Adjoining Owner
The Adjoining Owner can opt to be represented by the Agreed Surveyor or even consent (in writing) to the works thus waiving their rights to any Surveyor involvement.
They would be advised that any such waiver should be carefully worded so as to leave them the option to dissent further down the line if they change their mind. Some of the rights include:
a) To receive Notice before any notifiable works are undertaken.
b) To receive Notice before the Building Owner enters on their land or over sails it.
c) The right to have the cost of their appointed Surveyor paid for by the Building Owner (with rare exception).
d) To receive compensation for any defined monetary loss resulting from the works e.g. damage to belongings.
e) Instead of seeking repair from the contractor who caused the damage, the right to insist on receiving monetary compensation.
f) To receive compensation if the Building Owner encloses on a Party Wall that was built at their expense.
g) To remove any footings placed on their land if it interferes with their building plans and receive compensation for the cost of their removal.
h) To have their foundations strengthened when this is required due to the excavation works of the Building Owner.
i) To demand the Building Owner undertakes additional works for their benefit, (where this is reasonable and subject to compensating the Building Owner for the cost).
j) To demand the Building Owner desist from lowering the height of a Party Wall, (subject to compensating the Building Owner for the extra maintenance cost).
Together with these rights come duties the most important of which is to contribute towards the Party Wall works when disrepair was caused by both parties; and to contribute to the cost of erecting a boundary wall that both parties have agreed to.