Hello and welcome to Stokemont’s property blog series. On our website we have plenty of blogs that cover a wide range of property related topics which we hope can provide you with some valuable information.
The focus of today’s post will be on the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and more specifically into Party Wall Surveying and Party Fence Walls.
You might be wondering what a Party Fence wall is, a Party Fence Wall is the dividing wall between properties which has a shared ownership between the respective owners. A Party Fence Wall is a wall which is external and typically divides the gardens of two properties.
Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, a building owner who is undertaking construction works is able to demolish a Party Fence Wall and rebuild the wall as part of an extension. In order to carry out these works, the building owner will be required to serve a party wall notice under Section 2(2) of the Act upon the adjoining owner.
Party Wall Notice Responses
In response to the notice the adjoining owner has three response options available to them. The response options available to an adjoining are as below:
- Consent – this will allow the building owner to proceed to demolish and rebuild the Party Fence Wall.
- Dissent & Appoint Agreed Surveyor – If the adjoining owner chooses this option a surveyor will visit the adjoining property to undertake a Schedule of Condition & then create a Party Wall Award which will govern the building owners works.
- Dissent & Appoint Independent Party Wall Surveyor – Much like the Agreed Surveyor option. However, there will be two surveyors involved. One appointed by the building owner and the other appointed by the adjoining owner.
How do you identify a Party Fence Wall?
Determining if a wall is a Party Fence Wall is usually a simple task. Although, sometimes this may be more complex.
If you live in a terraced or semi-detached property this is usually simple as a Party Fence Wall will be positioned at the central point between the two properties and is essentially a continuation of the internal party wall.
Building owners in terraced or semi-detached properties can carry out some simple measurements to determine a garden wall is a Party Fence Wall as the wall will be positioned 50% on each neighbour’s land.
Building owners living in detached properties will typically find it a more difficult to identify if their garden walls are Party Fence Walls.
In the first instance, building owners should check their Deeds & Conveyance Plans as these will provide an insight on the ownership of the boundary walls.
If building owners are still unsure if the walls are Party Fence Walls, they will have to instruct a boundary determination surveyor.
If it is decided that the boundary wall between two properties is a Party Fence Wall, either neighbour can demolish this and rebuild a new wall in the same position to form part of a proposed extension. The adjoining neighbour would then be able to build off this wall in the future and at that point it would become a wall under shared ownership between the two neighbours.
If a neighbour wants to remove the wall and replace it with a fence, they are not able to do so without the consent of the other respective owner as both owners have a shared interest in this.
If you are a building owner who is planning to undertake works involving the demolition of a Party Fence Wall, please do get in touch with one of experienced Party Wall & Boundary Surveyors who would be than happy to provide with some free advice.