What is it?
The Party Wall Act 1996 is in place to prevent and resolve issues that arise in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near to neighbouring buildings. It is separate from obtaining planning permission but, is vital to protect both you and your neighbours from disputes during periods of home improvement or excavations.
What can be classed as a party wall?
A party wall can be a wall that stands on the land of two or more owners, regardless if this is forming part of a building or not. Another party wall is when a wall is on one owner’s land but is used by two different owners to separate their buildings. A ‘party structure’ also comes under the act, which separates parts of buildings with different owners, like in flats for example.
When does it come into action?
If someone on either side of the wall is planning to foretake work that may affect the structure, strength or support of the party wall the act comes into action, as well as when excavation is near to neighbouring buildings. This includes building a new wall, cutting into a wall, altering the height, knocking a wall down, the rebuilding of a wall and the removal of chimney breasts.
Why is it Important?
Your neighbours have an important role in any planning process you make on your home. It is a point of law that you give your neighbour notice before starting work close to the boundary of their home. If you do not, you may end up with a costly project and a delay to your work, rather than a smooth build. With the Party Wall Act, you have to serve a party wall notice to your neighbours at least two months before work begins. More information can be found on the Government website.
Also, on the Government website is an explanatory booklet with everything you need to know to make sure you are serving notice under all the relevant sections of the act. At some point in the process, you may need to bring in a conveyancing solicitor, this is where we are here to help. Contact us today.