Party Walls - What you Need to Know
We have all heard or had experience with those neighbours that add havoc and frustration to homeowners – “the dog is too loud”, “the crying baby keeps me up at night”, “your tree is over my side”. When you have neighbours, issues can arise, but if you are respectful of each other, it should be peaceful and easy to accommodate one and another.
Photo: Archplan Architects
Even if you get on superbly well with your neighbours, issues can arise when one of you thinks about doing construction work on your property. Due to the financial climate, more people are extending and making their property more family liveable by knocking down walls, converting their lofts or adding a basement. With these extensions, can come neighbour tension.
Party walls are where, in terraced houses or semi-detached houses, your wall is adjoined to the next house. If this wall adjoins the two properties with no gap in between then that is a party wall. If thinking about carrying out work on your property that will affect your neighbour then a party wall agreement has to be put in place.
Party wall notices need to be given whenever building a new wall that will affect your neighbour: cutting into a party wall, making a party wall taller, shorter, deeper, removing chimneys on the party wall, or knocking down and rebuilding a part of the party wall. Other examples include doing a rear side extension to your property’s boundary or converting the loft, or working on a boundary that already exists, underpinning, cutting and repairing. Both examples will touch you and your neighbours party wall and therefore your neighbour must know about the work that you are having done. The Party Wall agreement will let your neighbours know about the work you are proposing to have done and let them know that it may affect them. Dust, dirt and noise can all occur if you are having work done on your property.
A verbal agreement is not enough. A written notice must be prepared and offered to your neighbours at least two months before plans have started. Your neighbours have two weeks to agree or disagree.