Party Wall Issues – during the current lockdown

We have recently been contacted by a homeowner who is self-isolating, who was seeking advice on the Party Wall legislation.  The homeowner had recently received a party wall notice from their neighbour. The neighbour is seeking to commence works on the party wall during the current lockdown.  The homeowner was concerned about the potential impact of the works. They homeowner wanted to better understand their rights under the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

The two neighbours occupied adjacent semi-detached houses which had adjoining chimney breasts on the party wall which separated the houses.  The neighbour is proposing to remove the chimney breast, which is structural, on their side of the party wall at ground floor level.  The neighbour was keen to progress the works quickly and had a builder lined up ready to start.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 the rights and obligations of both parties.  We advised the homeowner of their rights in accordance with the legislation. In lay terms we explained how the process can work, making it clear that the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 was there to protect both owners. 

The homeowner was appreciative of the information and advice. The homeowner dissented to the works and is currently in discussions with their neighbour as to the next step. 

The current Government lockdown restricts access to work in, or inspect residential properties. These restrictions will not only delay the Party Wall Award, but also the works starting.

It is important to note that dissenting to a party wall notice should not cause dispute.  Agreeing to works which may not be fully considered causing damage in a neighbours’ property will create a dispute.