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  • Clio Domenech

Party Wall Act Rights for Adjoining Owners: Ensuring Protection

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is a crucial piece of legislation designed to manage potential disputes between property owners regarding shared walls and construction work. As an Adjoining Owner, it is essential to be aware of your rights under this Act to ensure their interests are safeguarded during a building project. In this blog post, we will explore the rights granted to Adjoining Owners and how they can navigate the Party Wall Act for their benefit.

A man signing documents

1. Party Wall Notice and Adjoining Owner's Response

The first and foremost right of an Adjoining Owner is to be served a proper party wall notice when the neighbouring property owner, Building Owner, intends to undertake construction work covered by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. The Party Wall Notice provides details about the proposed work, the anticipated start date, and relevant information from the Act. Adjoining Owners have the right to respond within a specified timeframe, expressing their concerns, requesting modifications, or granting consent.

2. Access and Survey Rights of Adjoining Owners

Adjoining Owners have the right to allow the Building Owner access to their property for necessary surveys and inspections before construction begins. This is to assess the condition of the party wall and determine the potential impact of the proposed work. It is crucial for the Adjoining Owner to understand the purpose of these surveys and ensure they are carried out by qualified professionals. Access to the Adjoining Owner's land is a common requirement to guarantee the safe and high-quality execution of the construction works. Consider a scenario where a full-width rear extension is proposed for a terraced property, and the new extension's side walls nearly abut the property boundary. In such cases, achieving a precise finish for the pointing work on the outer face from the Building Owner's land might prove challenging. In such cases, the Adjoining Owner's cooperation is needed to finish the job well. However, Adjoining Owner's absolutely have the right to refuse access on their property, in which case the build will have to take place entirely from the land of the Building Owner's.

3. Resolution of Disputes through a Party Wall Award

If concerns are raised in response to the Party Wall Notice and the Adjoining Owner decides to dissent, a Party Wall Award is required. This is the mechanism as provided by the Party Wall Act for dispute resolution. Party Wall Awards are produced by Party Wall Surveyors and Adjoining owners have the right to appoint the same surveyor as the Building Owner to act as the agreed surveyor or appoint their own separate surveyor to Act on their behalf to mediate disputes. This ensures a fair and impartial resolution process. Moreover, Adjoining Owners have the right to negotiate the terms of this agreement to safeguard their interests. This legally binding document outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties during and after the construction process.

4. Protection Against Damage

The Party Wall Act ensures that Adjoining Owners are protected against damage to their property caused by the construction work. If any harm occurs, the Building Owner is liable to rectify it. Adjoining owners have the right to seek compensation for any losses or damages incurred during the construction process.

To conclude, understanding your rights as an Adjoining Owner under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is crucial for a harmonious coexistence during construction projects. By being aware of the Party Wall Notice process, survey rights, party wall agreements, protection against damage, and dispute resolution mechanisms, you can navigate the Party Wall Act with confidence. Always seek professional advice when needed to ensure your rights are upheld and your property is safeguarded.

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