If you live in a semi-detached or terraced property, or plan to undertake work on a shared wall with your neighbors, then you need to familiarize yourself with the concept of party wall agreements. A party wall agreement (PWA) is essentially a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved in a construction project affecting a shared wall or boundary. PWA is a statutory agreement that is governed by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the “Act”).
Here are some key pieces of advice to keep in mind when navigating party wall agreements.
1. Start the process early
If you`re planning any construction work that might affect a party wall, it`s essential to start the process as early as possible. This is because the Act requires that you give written notice to your neighbor at least two months prior to the commencement of work.
2. Hire a surveyor
To ensure that the PWA process runs smoothly and that everyone`s interests are protected, it is highly recommended that you hire a party wall surveyor. The surveyor will draft the PWA, serve notice on your neighbor, and where necessary, facilitate agreement negotiations to ensure that the PWA is satisfactory to all parties.
3. Understand the types of party wall agreements
There are three types of party wall agreements: a party wall award, a party structure notice, and a notice of adjacency. A party wall award is used when the wall is being altered, while a party structure notice is used when a new wall is being built on the boundary line. Finally, a notice of adjacency is used when work is being carried out within three meters of the neighboring property.
4. Get a clear understanding of the scope of work
When drafting a PWA, it`s important to provide a clear and accurate description of the work that will be carried out. This will help to prevent disagreements and misunderstandings down the line.
5. Consider the impact on your neighbor
It`s important to recognize that any work you undertake will affect your neighbors. Therefore, it`s important to consider their needs and concerns when drafting a PWA. This can help to foster good relationships and prevent any tension or disputes.
6. Ensure that the party wall agreement is legally binding
Once a party wall agreement has been drafted, it must be signed by both parties to make it legally binding. It`s important to make sure that both you and your neighbor fully understand the implications of signing the agreement before proceeding.
In summary, party wall agreements are an important part of any property owner`s legal obligations when undertaking construction on a shared wall. By following the above advice, you can ensure that the process is handled smoothly and that both you and your neighbors are satisfied with the outcome.