5 things you need to know about a Party Wall agreement
In England and Wales, many common renovation projects require a Party Wall agreement - including loft conversions and rear extensions. If you think your renovation project might require a Party Wall agreement, here are 5 things to consider.
If you need to find out more about The Party Wall Act, read our expert advice.
It's sensible to budget from £800 for a Party Wall agreement
You can serve notice yourself and you don't need to pay anything. Party Wall notice templates can be found here on the gov.uk page. Your architect or surveyor can do this for you for a fee, likely to be under £100. If your neighbour agrees in writing then you don't need to take any other action and no further cost, which is great.
If your neighbour does dissent the notice, then you must appoint a surveyor. Ideally your neighbour agrees to the same surveyor for both properties which will keep costs down, typically costing around £800-900 per surveyor. For complicated projects then you should budget up to £3,000.
You should allow plenty of time to obtain a Party Wall agreement
You must service notice 2 months before the work begins. Your neighbour also has 14 days to respond to your notice. If they don't agree then it can take anything from a few weeks to a few months for the surveyors to finalise their Award. So it's best to consider the Party Wall agreement early in the process, rather than just before the builders are about to start!
A Party Wall agreement is separate to planning permission and building regulations
If you do not need planning permission, you will still need to serve notice to your neighbours under the Party Wall Act if you meet the stipulated conditions.
A Party Wall notice is different to planning permission and building regulations and you must serve notice separately.
The Party Wall agreement only lasts for 12 months
You need to have started the work 12 months from the 1st day that you served the notice. So it's only worth going through the process if you plan on undertaking the work in the foreseeable (unlike planning permission which lasts for 3 years!).
If you don't serve notice, the work is considered to be unlawful
In the short term, your neighbours could seek a court injunction to stop the notifiable works or you may need to remove notifiable works already undertaken. Longer term you may have problems when you come to sell your property.
Published: September 18, 2019