Party Wall Disputes

A party wall includes any structure that straddles the boundary between two properties, including:

  • A wall between semi-detached houses;
  • The floor between flats;
  • A standalone wall between properties.

The Party Wall Act (PWA) 1996 provides a framework to enable neighbours to carry out certain building works, for example:

  • Carrying out repairs to a party wall;
  • Demolishing and rebuilding a party wall because it is structurally defective;
  • Cutting into the wall to take a bearing of a beam, for example, during a loft conversion;
  • Raising the height of a party wall, for example, adding another storey;
  • Digging beneath a party wall, for example, to form a basement.

The PWA 1996 also provides a procedure to resolve disputes that arise as a result of those building works, for example, if a person carries out works to a shared wall without their neighbour’s permission or if a neighbour refuses to give consent to proposed building works relating to a shared wall.

boss sitting in office

I am a Partner at Naylor Solicitors, a law firm specialising in property disputes and resolution. I would be delighted to assist with any queries you may have. Please get in touch to arrange a no obligation consultation.

James Naylor
Partner

What steps should be taken before carrying out building works related to a party wall?

A building owner must give notice to all adjoining owners of any works that will be caught by the provisions of the PWA 1996.

The notice requirements vary depending on what the work involves. For works on an existing wall, two months’ notice is required. For building a new party wall or excavations of the adjoining owner’s buildings, one month’s notice is required.

A building owner must comply with these statutory obligations before starting the building works. Failure to do so could entitle an adjoining neighbour to bring a claim in private nuisance and/or trespass.

We can carry out this process on your behalf, including preparing and serving the notice on the adjoining neighbour.

What are an adjoining neighbour’s options in response to a notice?

For works to an existing wall, an adjoining neighbour can:

  • Give prior consent to the works in writing; or
  • Serve a counter-notice within one month of the building owner’s notice; or
  • Ignore the notice (i.e., consent is not given)

The counter-notice provides a mechanism for the adjoining owner to ensure that certain extra works are incorporated into the building owner’s works, at the adjoining owner’s own cost.

For building a new party wall or excavations of the adjoining owner’s buildings, an adjoining neighbour can:

  • Give consent in writing within 14 days; or
  • Ignore the notice.

We can prepare and serve a counter-notice on your behalf, as well as providing expert legal advice about your particular case and options.

When do disputes arise and how are they resolved?

Under PWA 1996, a dispute will arise, or will be deemed to arise, if:

  • The adjoining owner does not consent within 14 days of the building owner’s notice; or  
  • The building owner does not consent within 14 days of the adjoining owner’s counter-notice.

The parties can jointly appoint an agreed party wall surveyor to make an award or can each appoint their own surveyors who will select a third party surveyor.

A party wall surveyor may resolve any matter that is connected to the works in dispute, including:

  • The building owner’s right to carry out the works;
  • The time and manner in which the works are carried out;
  • Any other matter arising out of or incidental to the dispute, including the costs of making the award.

The surveyor’s decision is known as an award which sets out the circumstances in which the works will be carried out. The award will usually contain a schedule of condition as a record of the adjoining owner’s property before the works begin. The aim is to protect the adjoining owner if damages occur.

We can act for a building owner or an adjoining owner in a party wall dispute, including appointing a party wall surveyor on your behalf and advising you on the enforceability of the award.

Can I contest the surveyor’s award?

Under PWA 1996, the building owner or adjoining owner can appeal an award if there are sufficient grounds to show the award was wrong.

An application to appeal an award must be made within 14 days of the award being served.

We are experienced in taking matters such as these to the County Court. We can act for a building owner or an adjoining owner in a party wall dispute, as well as providing expert legal advice on the merits of your particular case.

We’re with you, every step of the way.

We’re here to guide you through the intricacies of litigation, resolve disputes efficiently, and help you achieve your outcome.

Testimonials

Our team is composed of dedicated and accomplished legal professionals, each bringing their unique expertise to the table.

Violeta Korkucyte
Violeta Korkucyte
21/05/2024
I am very happy with the service provided by Dominika Libova who helped me out with both my housing and allotment issues. Dominika was very professional, knowledgeable and understanding. I am grateful for all support and understanding received. I highly recommend Dominika and I will certainly continue using Naylor Solicitors services, should again there will be any need. Thank you so much! Kind regards, Violeta Korkucyte
Xuan Xing
Xuan Xing
06/05/2024
I used Naylor as my solicitor in my possesion claim case. It was very complicated due to a rent-to-rent and defaulting agent case with changing solicitors in the past. Jenny and Dominika provided top-notch services along the way and helped me finally regained the property. They gave legal advices truly in client's interest and explained things in details. I would highly recommend you using them esp. when you face a complicated case.
shaz
shaz
15/04/2024
Hi, My landlord posted an arrears repayment request letter (for my commercial property) to my old residential address where I haven't lived for over 20 years. To make things worse, some of my estranged family out of spite 'sat on the letter and never told me'. When my sick father found out he told me but by that time it was too late and my landlord had then tried 'to dig up a old expired lease clause' to evict me instead. I contacted the landlord and instructed Naylors to help me, as I have used them previously without any problems. I had an excellent service and outcome before and this time felt I was in very safe hands. However my landlord served me a 'forfeiture of lease and claimed repossession. Distraught Naylors saved the day and I am delighted, relieved and very grateful to say the landlord has given my keys back to me today, (within 48hrs of Naylors contacting them on my behalf) and I am back in my shop. Thank you so so much James, Jonathan, Jasper, Gurcharan and the whole team at Naylors, you guys are fantastic! keep up the amazing work. best wishes shabana x
Relinda Howard
Relinda Howard
04/04/2024
I take this opportunity of thanking Dominika for her expertise and professionalism. She certainly made my experience of this situation more pleasant . She appears to be a person of strength and determination. When it is time to be firm she can be. Thanks for her perseverance in completing what she started. Relinda.
Mark Genney
Mark Genney
22/03/2024
I have to say Naylor went the extra mile, my case must have lasted 5 years or so. I'm very happy with the amount of professionalism and talent that Naylor brought to this.
BB Roy
BB Roy
12/03/2024
This specialist, yet unassuming Property Law firm came to my rescue by evicting a tenant in my property who was illegally subletting. At the outset, the principal of the firm - James Naylor set out a very clear forthright approach to get the tenants out by a given date. Then it was all up to a very high impact Solicitor Nida Khan to execute that plan. Nida was diligent and persistent in her manner with the tenants and left them with little scope to manoeuvre other than to surrender the tenancy by the specified date or to face imminent eviction by court orders. Through out the two week's process - Nida kept me informed, was easy to communicate with and was always reassuring. I am very grateful to Naylor's LLP for their professional service and happy to recommend Nida and her firm as outstanding property law practitioners.
Nurliah Fisher
Nurliah Fisher
21/02/2024
I would like to thanks to all the staff at Naylor Solicitors. They are all very helpful and the most important is for me that’s they are very honest. Wishing them all the best and success with their team work and especially to Dominika, Many thanks for your hard work. Best wishes Nurliah Fisher
Mustafa Kalaycı
Mustafa Kalaycı
21/01/2024
The most honest, hardworking, and fully professional law firm I have encountered or worked with. Despite speaking different languages, they effectively understand you through their interpreters, find the best advisors to assist you, and acquire the necessary information. They create a friendly, family-like atmosphere with a straightforward approach, particularly in litigation expertise. My gratitude goes to all the staff involved, especially James Naylor and Jenny Cheung, for their dedication. Thanks for everything. Mustafa KALAYCI
Pauline
Pauline
12/09/2023
I used Naylor Solicitors to help us purchase our freehold. It wasn't as straightforward as we'd hoped as the previous freeholder and his solicitors were difficult to deal with (not responding to calls or emails etc,) which delayed things. At one point the freeholder threatened to pull out of the sale despite previously agreeing. Our solicitor Adam was swift in his response, reminding the other side that we had a verbal agreement and that they were risking us taking legal action in that regard. He was then able to make sure the sale went through as agreed. I highly recommend Naylor Solicitors.
Ray Allen
Ray Allen
26/04/2023
We have used their services twice and both times we found them to be efficient and responsive. Kept us well informed of all developments throughout the process.