Defective Party Fence Walls & Maintenance
A ‘Party Fence Wall’ is a wall which sits astride the land of different owners and used to separate and define the land, often referred to as a boundary wall by building owners.
Generally speaking a well-built masonry wall will require little to no maintenance for many many years. Fast forward 100+ years of exposure to the elements and naturally derived organic matter like mature trees and hedges, it’s no surprise that a number Victorian and Edwardian party fence walls are often found in disrepair.
What do I do if my party fence wall requires repair?
We always advocate speaking with your neighbour in the first instance and try to agree on an amicable and suitable programme of repair, selection of contractor and associated cost’s [to be shared]. There will be no need to appoint a party wall surveyor naturally mitigating the additional cost.
It’s not uncommon for owners to dispute the necessity or extent of repairs, costs and in some instances the the liability to maintain the party fence wall at all.
How can a Party Wall Surveyor deal with this?
In order to benefit from the protection of the 1996 Act the owner wishing to progress remedial work will be required to serve a Party Wall Notice.
This affords a number of options to the recipient of the Notice:
1) Acknowledge the Notice and agree and accept that repair works are required and engage the building owner to determine when and how the repair works will progress, including costs.
2) Acknowledge the Notice and dispute the necessity of the proposed work. In this instance a party wall surveyor/s will be appointed to effectively arbitrate and work towards a resolution based on the matter of facts.
3) Ignore the Notice. The matter will be deemed to be in dispute, and similar to step 2 above surveyor / s appointed to progress matters accordingly. The difference being that the owner who has failed to responds will forgo the opportunity to agree on or appoint their own surveyor.
The 1996 Act facilitates the effective resolution by ensuring that the correct apportionment of repair costs is written into a Party Wall Award therefore becoming legally binding.
For example, if it is evident that root related damage from one owners garden is a significant contributing factor then apportionment of repair costs and indeed the party wall surveyor’s fee’s may be apportioned to reflect this.
Feel free to get in touch for a FREE and IMPARTIAL initial consultation.
0208 243 8981