If you are considering undertaking any works to your property it is advisable to have it confirmed whether the Party Wall Act will be applicable. The Party Wall Act 1996 was extended to cover all properties in England on July 1st 1997.
In simple terms a Party Wall is a wall erected on a boundary line which separates 2 properties, the definition includes fences and boundary walls and foundations to the same.
In law a Party Wall is deemed to be jointly owned in its entirety, i.e. both parties, either side of the wall, own all of the thickness of the wall jointly. Therefore, if one party wishes to raise, lower, cut into, add or remove loads or alter the wall in any other material way then they must notify the other party and seek their agreement.
Material alterations are not defined in the Act but works to the face of a Party Wall such as re plastering, redecorating etc. are excluded as is the injection of a chemical damp proof course. Flues built into Party Walls are included and so the removal of chimney breasts and stacks are subject to the Legislation.
Notices must be served to adjoining owners for any works affecting the party wall and the adjoining owners can then appoint a surveyor to deal with these matters. Generally, all costs will be met by the building owner who will be undertaking the work.
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