A party wall is a wall that is common between two adjoining buildings. Disputes can arise when one party undertakes works on this dividing wall.
A party wall divides the buildings of two owners: it can stand astride the two properties, or it can be wholly on one party’s land yet be used by both on either side.
The Party Wall Act 1996 stipulates that property owners must notify their neighbours before undertaking certain works e.g. cutting into the wall during a loft extension. It does not apply to minor works e.g. fitting shelving.
If the person receiving the notice does not consent within 14 days, the parties are deemed to be in dispute. Each side will select a surveyor, while a third surveyor will decide the matter by making an award.
If this award is contested, either party can take the matter to the County Court.