Party Wall Agreement Not in Place: Why it Matters
When undertaking building or renovation work on a property, it is essential to ensure that you have all the necessary permissions and agreements in place. One critical document that is often overlooked is the party wall agreement.
What is a Party Wall Agreement?
A party wall agreement is a legal document that establishes the rights and responsibilities of property owners when carrying out building or renovation work that affects a shared boundary, such as a party wall. The agreement is a requirement under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, which regulates the construction and maintenance of party walls.
Why is it Important?
Failing to have a party wall agreement in place can lead to a range of problems, including:
1. Legal Issues
If you start work without a party wall agreement, you risk legal action from your neighbor, who may claim that the work is causing damage to their property or violating their rights.
2. Delays and Costs
If you do not have a party wall agreement in place, your neighbor can request an injunction to stop the work from continuing until an agreement is put in place. This can cause delays and additional costs.
3. Relationship Strain
The absence of a party wall agreement can also harm the relationship between you and your neighbor, causing tension and disputes that can escalate over time.
How to Get a Party Wall Agreement
The first step in obtaining a party wall agreement is to notify your neighbor of your plans to carry out works that may affect their property. This is called a party wall notice, and it must be served at least two months before work begins.
Once a party wall notice has been served, your neighbor has three options:
1. Consent to the work
2. Dissent and appoint their own surveyor
3. Dissent and agree to the appointment of a single surveyor who will act for both parties.
The surveyor(s) will then prepare a party wall award, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties and provides a legal framework for the work to proceed.
A party wall agreement is a vital document for anyone undertaking building or renovation work that affects a shared boundary. Failing to have a party wall agreement in place can lead to serious legal and financial issues, as well as straining your relationship with your neighbor. If you are planning any work that may affect a party wall, it is essential to seek professional advice and ensure that you have all the necessary agreements in place to avoid any problems.