Buying a Property in East London? What You Need to Know About Party Walls

The Party Wall Act provides guidance on how work on party walls needs to be carried out. But what is a party wall and why does it matter when you’re purchasing a property? It’s essential to understand party walls if you ever want to make alterations to shared walls. Equally, you need to know about party walls in case your neighbour ever wants to carry out any work so that you know your rights and responsibilities.

In this guide, we’ll look at party walls, why they matter, and how hiring a chartered surveyor in East London can help you.

What you need to know about party walls

What is a party wall?

A party wall is a wall that separates buildings belonging to different owners. It can also sometimes be a garden wall that is built over a boundary, which is called a party fence wall. Party walls obviously need to be considered carefully, as they’re shared between multiple owners. How this should be managed when work is carried out is detailed in the Party Wall Act 1996. The act covers both party walls and other party structures, as well as party fence walls.

The Party Wall Act says that there are some things that can only be carried out on a party wall with the consent of adjoining owners. Before any work takes place, it’s necessary to notify neighbours who share the wall. The neighbours then give their written agreement or can choose to object. If there is a dispute, both parties may use surveyors to help them come to an agreement. When an agreement is reached, a Party Wall Award is drawn up to resolve the dispute. Not all work on party walls requires notification. Some of the things that require you to notify adjoining neighbours include:

  • Inserting a damp proof course
  • Cutting into a wall to take the bearing of a beam
  • Demolishing and rebuilding a party wall
  • Underpinning all or part of a party wall

There are various other events that can require notification. It’s important to check the Party Wall Act if you intend to do any work on or near a party wall, party fence wall, or party structure.

The importance of party walls when buying a property

As you can see, party walls are something that you might want to consider if you’re looking for a property to buy. Properties such as terraced and semi-detached houses share party walls that might be something you need to consider in the future.

When you’re first considering buying a property, you may want to consider whether there is any work you would want to carry out on a party wall soon after purchasing it. Even if there isn’t, it could be an issue in the future. Additionally, your neighbours may intend to have work carried out at some point.Party walls can be a particular concern if the current owner has already received a party wall notification or has served a party wall notice to neighbours. There could already be a party wall agreement (Party Wall Award) in place, which could affect you in the future. Buying a property can be a stressful process already without having to worry about concerns such as this. That’s why it’s important to get the right advice when you’re thinking about purchasing a property. Your conveyancer can help you to get the right answers about matters such as party walls. Meanwhile, a chartered surveyor in East London can help you navigate party wall issues.

Why you need a chartered surveyor in East London

The Party Wall Act is relevant to anyone buying a property in East London with a party wall, party fence wall, or party structure. But it can be of particular interest to you if you discover that there is already a party wall agreement in place or notification of work has been given or received. When dealing with party wall matters, it’s always a good idea to consult with a chartered surveyor. Hiring a chartered surveyor in East London ensures you get the right advice and can navigate any issues that may arise. Chartered surveyors are experts in the Party Wall Act 1996 and can provide services to help you assess any works and deal with disputes. At NI Surveys, our RICS-registered surveyors provide comprehensive surveys for homebuyers to help support their services. Our services include residential surveys to help make the process of purchasing a property as stress-free as possible. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help during or after your property purchase.

Ronan's broad range of surveying skills and detailed knowledge of property types & construction have been developed working in the private, public and residential sectors. He is an RICS Chartered Building Surveyor with 20 years experience and holds a Diploma in Financial Management examined by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.