Party Wall Solicitors
Expert legal advice for party wall disputes
Whether you seek to improve your own property or protect it from the construction activities of a neighbour, we can help. The party wall disputes team at Osbornes has a track record of advising homeowners and commercial property owners on their rights and obligations under the Party Wall Act 1966.
Shilpa Mathuradas Partner
Party wall dispute resolution for you and your business
This page will tell you more about party wall disputes and what the options are for avoiding problems before any works commence. You will find out about our extensive experience resolving party wall conflicts, and how our supportive team can protect your property and your interests.
We provide dispute resolution services to all property owners who are affected by works to a shared wall or fence. Our property litigation lawyers know the provisions of the Party Wall Act inside out. Working hand-in-hand with you and your surveyors, we can ensure that everyone meets their obligations swiftly and with the minimum fuss.
How we can help
It’s easy to think, “I get on with my neighbours so it won’t be a problem” when you are planning to carry out work that affects a shared wall. But if a neighbour claims you damaged their property, things can quickly escalate and end up in court.
Our expert property litigation team can help stop these problems before they begin. We have substantial experience in party wall disputes for both residential and commercial property. We can help you resolve problems quickly and cost-effectively, protecting everyone’s interests and keeping the development on track. Our service includes:
- Serving notices and counter-notices under the Party Wall etc Act 1996
- Dealing with neighbours who want to frustrate or delay the works
- Injunctions to stop unauthorised work
- Appeals against unfair party wall awards
- Regulating the construction work
Party wall issues can become very complicated. It is important to get legal help when serving or responding to notices, to ensure they go to the right people at the right time. If work has already commenced without the correct procedure being complied with, we can help you obtain an injunction to stop the work.
For more information about our services, please contact our party wall disputes lawyers today.
Party Wall FAQs
What is a party wall dispute?
A party wall is any structure that straddles the boundary between two properties. It can be:
- Vertical, as in the wall between semi-detached houses
- Horizontal, such as the floor of a flat
- A standalone boundary structure that separates land from the adjoining property
Any work that you or your neighbour carries out to a party wall can potentially lead to a party wall dispute. For example, you would not be happy if your neighbour did shoddy work that affected the structural integrity of your home.
The most common type of dispute occurs when someone does work to a shared wall without their neighbour’s permission, or a neighbour refuses to give consent to the proposed building work. The procedure for resolving these disputes is set out in the Party Wall Act 1996.
What is the Party Wall Act?
The Party Wall Act 1996 is a legal framework for minimising party wall disputes. It enables someone to make adjustments to the full thickness of a party wall without trespassing on their neighbour’s property.
The Act does a number of things:
- Sets out what type of building work can and cannot take place regarding a party wall
- Requires the person carrying out renovations to give neighbours two months’ notice in writing of their plans
- Permits the adjacent owner to consent or object to the renovations within 14 days of receiving the notice
- Sets out a dispute resolution procedure where an independent surveyor will make an award regarding the details of the works, timescales and protective measures needed for adjacent properties – rather like a judge would if the matter went to court.
The Act is a complicated piece of legislation. There are different types of notice that require different time periods for when the work can begin. Our team can provide expert advice about party walls and make sure you’re following the correct procedure from both sides of the fence.
When does the Party Wall Act apply?
Changes to a property which might fall under the Party Wall Act include:
- Demolishing a party wall or any part of it
- Cutting into a party wall
- Changing the structural support beams, such as putting in RSJs
- Constructing a new building at the boundary of two properties, including a garage or shed
- Carrying out a loft conversion.
- Digging beneath the foundations of a party wall, such as creating a basement
- Damp proof installation
Permission is not normally required for routine changes to a party wall such as changing an electrical socket, unless the work involves removing a section of the wall.
Before doing any work that affects a party wall, you must check whether your project is covered by the Party Wall Act. Your local planning or building control departments will not tell you, so it is essential to take legal advice from a specialist party wall solicitor.
What happens if my neighbour does work to a party wall without my permission?
In some party wall disputes, if work has already started, you may have to ask the court for an injunction. This will stop the work temporarily while you agree what needs to be done to protect your property.
The cost of obtaining a party wall injunction can usually be recovered from your neighbour if the judge grants you the injunction.
What is a Party Wall Award?
A party wall Award is made by an independent surveyor in a party wall dispute. It defines what work can be done with a timeline for completion. It will also contain a “schedule of condition” which describes the condition of the property prior to work commencing to make sure there is no damage.
Party Wall Awards can be fairly complex documents, and sometimes the surveyor’s award is not what you were hoping for. There’s only a very short time to challenge an award you don’t agree with so you must be ready to lodge an appeal within just a few days.
As party wall specialists, we understand the specific technical requirements for appeals. See how our leading property litigation lawyers can help by giving us a call today.
I received a call from Shilpa Mathuradas a couple of hours after filling the enquiry form for a callback. She actively listened to my party wall concerns responding with gentle professionalism, answering my concerns, letting me know what is and is not possible and when best to bring in a solicitor. All this within 10 minutes. Excellent.
Why work with Osbornes Law?
Shilpa Mathuradas, head of property litigation at Osbornes, leads a team of specialist party wall dispute solicitors. The team will act for you from the early planning stages all the way to a court hearing if you need to appeal a party wall award or apply for an injunction. We have a reputation for standing firm to protect your interests and specialise in giving practical, jargon-free advice.
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The Property Litigation Team View the whole team
William Ford Partner
Housing and Social Care
Shilpa Mathuradas Partner
Muna Adam Solicitor
Rory Matheson Solicitor
Housing and Social Care
James Mayall Solicitor
Ellie McEvoy Paralegal
Alex McMahon Senior Associate
Housing and Social Care
Alex Panayi Solicitor
Edward Taylor Senior Associate
Housing and Social Care
Anna Van-Haute Paralegal