Your duties and rights under the Party Wall Act
What are your duties under the act?
The Act introduced a framework by which disputes in relation to excavations and other works near boundaries or neighbouring buildings may be resolved. Anyone who proposes to undertake work which may be affected by the Party Wall Act, must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions. This notice applies even when the work will not go beyond the centre line of the division of the properties. The Act also provides, where there are disputes over this work, for the resolution of the disputes.
What rights do you have?
You are entitled to repair and maintain party walls. In the case of 'party structures', you must serve a 'party structure notice' on the adjoining owner, giving two months notice. The work detailed must be carried out within a year, after which time the notice becomes invalid.
An adjoining owner, served with a party structures notice, may issue a counter-notice within one month requiring additional works to be carried out, and you must consent within 14 days or a dispute is deemed to exist. A summary of your rights is below:
- Construction of a new party wall, party fence wall or party structure.
- Underpinning a party wall.
- Raising or lowering the height of a party wall.
- Changing the thickness of a party wall.
- Making good or repairing a party wall.
- Demolishing and rebuilding a defective party wall.
- Cutting into a party wall, e.g.. to insert a DPC or flashing.
- Removing overhangs to build a new wall close to the old.
- Inserting tying systems to stabilise a party wall.
- Weatherproofing a party wall exposed by demolitions.
Note that the Act also covers certain excavations, which might affect a building belonging to an adjoining owner. These are:
- Excavate, or excavate and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 3m of a neighbouring owner's building or structure, where that work will go deeper than the neighbour's foundations; or
- Excavate, or excavated for and construction foundations for a new building or structure, within 6m of a neighbouring owner's building or structure, where that work will cut a line downwards at 45 from the bottom of the neighbour's foundations.