Back to Basics: What is a Party Wall?
Often, a party wall separates the properties of two adjoining owners, where each owns part and each has certain rights over the wall. It can also be a wall owned entirely by one of the owners but over which the adjoining owner has certain rights. It can be part of the building itself (such as a house wall that is also a boundary wall) or a separate structure (such as a shared wall in a row of terraced houses).
The Law and Party Walls
Party walls are governed by the Party Wall Act 1996 (PWA 1996) which provides a framework for the owners of a shared boundary to carry out works to the party wall. The Act also creates certain rights and obligations for both parties.
The Building Owner
This is the person who wishes to carry out building works to the party wall.
Under the PWA 1996, Building Owners have:
Usually work must start within 12 months of the notice being given.
The Adjoining Owner
This is usually the owner/occupier whose land adjoins the Building Owner’s land.
The PWA 1996 gives Adjoining Owners:
However, Adjoining Owners may not prevent the Building Owner from carrying out works that fall within the PWA 1996.
For further practical advice about party walls, contact Becky Ross in the Property Team.