Renovating to Sell for a Profit:

12th April 2022
Home > News > Renovating to Sell for a Profit:

The Party Wall Act - are you aware?

If you are renovating a property in Grantham before sale, you need to be aware of the impact of the Party Wall Act and the implications for you if you don’t follow the rules. A Party Wall is a wall which sits on the boundary between two properties and includes:

  • The wall between two terraced houses
  • The middle wall in a pair of semis
  • The boundary wall between two gardens
  • The horizontal “wall” between floors in a block of flats. Here it is called a Party Structure, but the rules still apply.

If you live in England or Wales and you are doing works to your property and you share a wall (or structure) you probably need to serve a Party Wall Notice on your neighbour. The process is meant to stop disputes, but is also to help people resolve them if they do arise. Works include:

  • Any work to the wall between terraced and semi-detached houses
  • Any work to a shared “party structure”
  • Any work to boundary walls
  • Excavation works or underpinning within 6 metres of the party wall
  • Loft conversions that mean cutting into a party wall
  • Inserting a damp proof course into a party wall
  • Making the party wall thicker or higher
  • Building a second storey extension above a party wall

The Notice must include full details of the works you are doing, give your neighbour at least two months’ notice of the works starting and say what, if any, access you need across their property to get the works completed.

Works that don’t need a Party Wall Notice:

  • Drilling into the wall internally to fit kitchen units or shelving
  • Having the wall plastered
  • Adding or replacing electrical wiring or sockets

Once you have the specification of work from your builder, or a list of the works if you are doing them yourself, you should write to your neighbour and make it clear that this is a Party Wall Notice. 

They will either write back and say they are OK with everything, write back and say they don’t agree (and maybe say why), or not respond at all.

If either of the latter two, then you will need to appoint a Party Wall surveyor to represent both of you. The surveyor draws up the Award (see below). It is important to note that although the Party Wall Surveyor is instructed by your neighbour, they are not acting for you. Their role is the protect the Party Wall or Structure and they answer only to the Courts.

Your neighbour can have a different Party Wall Surveyor if you wish, the only downside to this process is that you will pay both lots of fees.

What is the Party Wall Award?

The Award is a basically description of the works, how they will be carried out and who pays the surveyor’s fees, which in this case will be you.

Why would I bother with the Party Wall Notice?

There are many occasions when people just get on with works, don’t bother serving the Notice and hope that everything goes smoothly and the works are finished before anyone has a chance to do anything about it. Some people are just averse to paying professional fees!

Once the works are completed there is nothing neighbours can do about the Notice or an Award, the rules are not retrospective. But there are advantages to you in having an Award in place:

  • It massively reduces the risk of disputes as the works are done.
  • Everyone has agreed upfront what the works will be and how they will be done.
  • If you need access across your neighbour’s property, whether that is garden, roof, or to put scaffolding up on their property, the Award will give you the right to do so.
  • If your builder damages their property during the works the Courts take a dim view if you have failed to serve Notice and put an Award in place. They have a good chance of successfully suing you for damages (and trespass if you have accessed via their property without consent). If there is an Award in place then it gives you more protection and the Party Wall Surveyor/s should be able to resolve any disputes along the way.

There is of course a lot more in the detail but if you start work and your neighbours know nothing about it, they may come and talk to you and you can sort it out amicably. On the other hand they might just go straight to their solicitor and get an injunction to force you to stop work.

The cost of that could put your profit in jeopardy.

So don’t take the risk, get a Party Wall Notice served and crack on!

 


Share this article
  • icon
  • icon

Related News Articles

Property Market Update: What’s Happening In The UK Property Market

House price growth is finally starting to slow down, with some property experts predicting a crash this year. In other news, a shift in renters’ demands has been revealed by one leading property website, and fans of a popular TV series can get their hands on one of the houses used in filming.  Read on for all this and more in our May property market update. UK Hous...

02/05/2022
What Is An Online Property Auction and How Do They Work?

When we think of a property auction, we probably imagine a room full of investors with an auctioneer up front – hammer in hand – spouting numbers at record speeds. These days, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Nowadays, property auctions are a place for everyone and there’s no need to physically attend one. Online auctions are rising in populari...

12/08/2023
Property Market Update: What’s Happening In The UK Property Market – August 2022

House prices have fallen for the first time this year, the under-30s are the age group most likely to face unaffordable rents, and mortgage rates are expected to rise imminently. But it’s not all doom and gloom! Read on for all this and more in August’s property market update.House prices fall for the first time in 2022Figures released by property website Rightmove...

11/09/2022
Blind Auctions and Sealed Bids – A Guide To Sale By Tender

Sale By Tender Is A Different Way Of Selling A Property   There can be a lot of confusion surrounding the practice of SBT or Sale By Tender, as a number of sellers in Grantham have been asking us whether this could be the best option for them. This somewhat controversial tactic is something that sellers should be aware of, so here at Secure My Sale Estate Agent...

14/07/2023