If you’re planning to carry out work on a part of your property that is connected to your neighbour’s property (such as a shared wall), you must make sure that you comply with the Party Wall Act 1996. The Party Wall Act 1996 was passed to give homeowners protection and flexibility in the repair and maintenance of a party wall. It was designed to map out in simple terms the rules that govern changes to shared walls.
What is a party wall?
Under the Party Wall Act 1996, a party wall is defined as a wall that stands on the lands of two or more owners and forms part of a building, a wall that stands on the lands of two or more owners but does not form part of a building, and a wall that stands on one owner’s land but is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings.
Permission to work on party walls
For minor works on a party wall, such as routine maintenance and repairs that will not disrupt the flow of everyday life, it is rare that you will need to seek the permission of your neighbour. In all circumstances, permission to perform major works on a party wall must be granted by all owners or neighbours. You need to give written notice of the work that is to be carried out and then gain the permission of your neighbours. This includes where:
- You plan to increase the height or thickness of a wall.
- You plan to build an extension or convert an area of which the wall inhabits.
- You intend to carry out any work that may affect your neighbours’ foundations.
The above are simply examples of when permission should be sought prior to work on a party wall being carried out.
It is recommended that all permission requests are completed in writing. You should send your written request to your neighbours two months prior to any work being carried out, noting the time of delivery and the timings of the replies. Written responses are the key to a legally binding acceptance; you should never rely on verbal permission alone.
For more information on regulations on party walls, please visit Gov.uk.
The information contained within this article is strictly for guidance only. Cost2Build recommends that you always check current sources of information in case regulations have changed. Cost2Build cannot accept any liability for miscommunication of the law in the case of a change in regulation or any action done to a property based on the information held in this article.