As a property owner, you may have heard of a party wall agreement – also known as a party wall award – but you may not be entirely sure what it is or if you need one. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at party wall agreements and who needs to sign them.
What is a party wall agreement?
A party wall agreement is a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of property owners who share a wall or boundary. This could include a wall that separates two terraced houses or a boundary that divides two plots of land. The purpose of a party wall agreement is to prevent disputes between neighbors who are undertaking work on or near a shared wall or boundary.
When do you need a party wall agreement?
In general, you’ll need a party wall agreement if you are planning to carry out any of the following types of work:
1. Building on or at the boundary of your property, such as building a new wall or fence.
2. Underpinning a party wall (e.g. digging deeper foundations) or cutting into it (e.g. to insert a beam).
3. Carrying out any work that may affect the strength or support of a party wall, such as removing chimney breasts or inserting a damp proof course.
Who needs to sign a party wall agreement?
Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, you must serve a written notice on any affected neighboring properties at least two months before the planned start of works. If your neighbors don’t raise any objections within those two months, you can proceed with the works. However, if they do object or fail to respond, you’ll need to appoint a surveyor to carry out a party wall agreement.
The party wall agreement is usually signed by both the building owner (the person carrying out the works) and the adjacent owner (the person whose property is next to the works). If there are multiple adjacent owners, all of them will need to sign the agreement. In some cases, one surveyor may be appointed to act for both parties.
In conclusion, if you’re planning on carrying out any works that may affect a shared wall or boundary, it’s important to check whether you need a party wall agreement. Failure to do so could result in disputes with your neighbors or even legal action. It’s always best to play it safe and seek professional advice if you’re unsure.