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.

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.


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

Mustafa Kalaycı
Mustafa Kalaycı
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
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.
Simon Grey
Simon Grey
We found Naylors after talking to a few solicitors and they sounded the most knowledgeable. They helped us with a neighbour dispute. Dominika was fabulous throughout, and we were able to resolve a long standing issue. We would like to thank Dominika for all her help and support.
Simon Hill
Simon Hill
I was the main client contact of 60+ objectors on a breach of restrictive covenants case in Hertfordshire lasting several years. Naylors had been recommended by our QC and were superb throughout. We won the case convincingly. Would certainly recommend them.
Farook Paracha
Farook Paracha
Dedicated and professional firm with the Clients interest at the forefront. Clear and unambiguous advice for a complicated legal matter expanding over several months. Naylor’s agreed to represent us clients at a time when we had completely lost all hope from keeping our property safe from forfeiture. We couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Despite this we always felt confident and in control with the quality of advice and our legal cost. I would definitely recommend Naylor’s LLP to everyone I know. Special thanks to Dominika, Nikki & Jasper. Regards Farook Paracha
Frazer A-F
Frazer A-F
We have been dealing with with Dominika Libova at Naylors for the past year on a dispute, we have been really pleased with the service she has provided. Dominika was approachable, friendly, professional and knowledgable, supporting us every step of the way. Fees were agreed in advance at every stage and where honoured, even reducing fees on a couple of occasions to meet the estimates. I would highly recommend Dominika and the Naylor's team.
Yannick Schindler
Yannick Schindler
Dominika and her firm recently secured a good outcome for me in a property dispute and I highly recommend her. Whenever I spoke with Dominika on the phone, it was very clear to me that she had considered the matter very carefully and I was impressed with her attention to detail. I particularly valued her ability to respond very quickly and pragmatically to new, and sometimes unexpected, developments during litigation. She was also very skilled at developing strategies before and during litigation to achieve desired results while keeping costs low. Dominika made the impression of being a very adept and motivated litigator and throughout the entirety of the matter I was very, very happy to have her in my corner.
claire bryant
claire bryant
From start to end our experience of Naylor solicitors and Dominkia in particular, was faultless. They are a very professional firm. Dominika was incredibly knowledgeable in this specialist area we sought advice in (ROL), listened and acted upon our wishes, but also was very helpful in guiding us in taking the right course of action. Communication was always timely without any delay and she always made the time to explain matters that we needed extra clarification over. I highly recommend.