By Juliet Phillips-James, Director, Gomer Williams (as featured in the Llanelli Star)
Q: During the recent storms we experienced, the wall in my back garden blew down in part. It was a very old, rickety wall and as I am a builder I had always planned to rebuild it. It is however, a boundary wall so I informed my neighbour that I intended to knock down the remaining wall and rebuild it. He's asked if I can just make good the old wall, which I know will not be a permanent solution as the next time we have bad weather another section of wall could collapse. I have told him this but he is refusing to consent to the work. What are my options now?
A: As it is a shared boundary wall, you will need to serve notice on your neighbour under the Party Wall Act 1996.
The notice is intended to obtain the consent of your neighbour to the work. If no response is received within 14 days you will be deemed to be 'in dispute' under the act. As a result, surveyors will need to be appointed in order to try and resolve the dispute by way of a Party Wall Agreement.
If you do not receive a response, you need to appoint a surveyor. You and your neighbour can either agree on a surveyor or alternatively each owner will appoint their own surveyor.
The surveyor will draw up a document called an Award. It details the work to be carried out, along with other relevant information such as the condition of the adjoining property.
The award will also determine who pays for the works. Generally the building owner who has started the works will pay all the costs, however, on occasions these can be apportioned between owners. It may be worth double checking with your solicitor that the wall is definitely a party wall before embarking on this process.
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