Laura Finnigan, Residential Property Solicitor, discusses party walls.
If you are considering carrying out work to a party wall (as defined by the Party Wall etc Act 1996) you must give the adjoining owners notice of the works you are proposing to carry out. The adjoining property owners can agree or disagree with the work that is being proposed. If the owners disagree, the Party Wall etc Act 1996 sets out a process for dealing with what is being disputed.
A party wall could include a wall that stands on the land of two or more different owners and forms part of a building, or a wall that stands on the land of two different owners but does not form part of a building, such as a garden wall (not a timber fence), or a wall that is on one owner’s land but is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings.
Work that may involve a Party Wall Agreement would include cutting into a party wall, removing a chimney breast from a wall joining two properties, knocking down and rebuilding a wall between two properties or digging below the foundation level of a neighbour’s property.
Please note that a Party Wall etc Act notice does not replace the need for planning permission or building regulations consent. It is strongly recommended that you take the advice of your surveyor/builder as to whether planning permission or building regulations consent will also be required.