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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  Lawyer with 9 years experience of advising on property issues.
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Our neighbours want to build an extension and have gone through

Resolved Question:

Our neighbours want to build an extension and have gone through the planning stage to which we did not object because we were happy in principle with their plans. However, they said that they would organise a party wall agreement but have not done so and now say that they do not need one. From what I understand it is not legally necessary to have a party wall agreement but it is highly advisable to do so. Should we insist on having one?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.

tdlawyer :

Hello, welcome to the website. My name isXXXXX can assist you with this.

tdlawyer :

Are they proposing to build on a boundary between the two properties, or tie-in to an existing boundary wall?

tdlawyer :

Will they be digging next to the boundary (within 3m)?

Customer:

Hi Tony

tdlawyer :

Hello!

Customer:

Hi Tony, The are planning to demolish the existing wall and use the exterior wall of the extension to replace the boundary wall. This will mean that they have to have access to our property and and remove and replace some existing concrete in our garden.

tdlawyer :

Okay. Then the Party Wall Act etc. 1996 will apply.

tdlawyer :

It requires them to service a notice upon you setting out what they propose to do, and how they propose to do it.

tdlawyer :

This allows you the chance to object and if you do, then a surveyor will need to be appointed to determine what should be done and how to do it.

tdlawyer :

If they do not serve the notice, you would be entitled to apply to the High Court for an injunction to prevent them from doing any works caught by the Act until they go through that procedure.

tdlawyer :

The Court is likely in most cases to grant such an injunction.

Customer:

They went through the planning stage with the council and we received a notice from them but did not object because we were OK in principle with their proposals. However, they also said that a party wall agreement would be needed but now they want to commence work without a party wall agreement.

tdlawyer :

Okay. Planning is a different thing altogether, and doesn't impact on the party wall processes. If they needed to serve a party wall act etc. notice, then then still need to do that, just because planning is granted, it has no effect.

tdlawyer :

Let me find you a guidance note on this with pictures etc. of what is caught by the Act ... bear with me a moment.

tdlawyer :

Here you go: https://www.gov.uk/party-wall-etc-act-1996-guidance

tdlawyer :

This is from the government's advice site, it's very useful and detailed. You could pass this to them, to persuade them it's appropriate to follow the PWA procedures.

tdlawyer :

Then, if they refuse, you could apply for an injunction to prevent them doing the works.

tdlawyer :

The point is, the PWA process protects your interests, and your structure.

tdlawyer :

You can agree to waive the requirements.

tdlawyer :

But you need to fully understand what they propose doing and how. Then record any agreement between you (if any) in writing.

Customer:

They have shown us the plans and it seems fairly clear that what they are proposing would come under the PWA process. So it seems that we have two choices. Firstly we could draw up an agreement between ourselves or we could try and get them to follow the PWA procedure and if they refuse go for an injunction. It seems to me that going down the official PWA process would be the more sensible thing to do, especially with regard to the possibility of future disputes or problems with future neighbours if they sold up. Would you agree?

tdlawyer :

Absolutely, I would agree.

Customer:

You are a star. Thanks very much for your help. Enjoy the rest of your day.

tdlawyer :

Thank you. Out of interest, how did you manage to find us, are you a subscriber to the site?

Customer:

No, just through a Google search. Being a Sunday and they want to start work tomorrow I didn't have a chance to contact my own solicitor.

tdlawyer :

Okay, fair enough. You can subscribe too if you wanted to, then you can ask as many questions as you like for a set fee. Just thought I would mention that, but will leave you to look through the options etc., in your own time. Thanks for your question an have a great weekend! Please remember to rate the answer for me before leaving.

Customer:

Of course. Thanks. :-)

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