Party Wall Disputes Costs Recovery



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What is a Party Wall?

A party wall is a building structure that connects a boundary between two properties which are shared between two owners. It can typically be vertical, or horizontal such as the floor inside a flat. This can also be a wall that stands on the land of one person’s home but used to separate the other adjoining property.


What is a Party Wall Dispute?

Party wall disputes often arise when one property owner decides to undertake renovations or make a change to their property. Under the Party Wall Act 1996, a property owner (the person undertaking the work) who shares ownership of a wall is permitted to serve notice to the adjoining owner (the neighbour) without trespassing their property prior to works commencing.

Neighbours should be given two months’ written notice of any intentions before construction work begins so that they can agree or disagree with what is being proposed. Neighbours are given 14 days from when the notice was served to provide approval. If not, the work cannot go ahead as planned and a Party Wall Agreement will be required.

Although the Party Wall Act enables the building owner to give notice that they intend to undertake building works, the adjoining owner can still object to the work, or they may fail to respond and consent to the notice. In these circumstances, the parties are deemed to be in a dispute.

To resolve this dispute, the neighbours may each appoint a surveyor or jointly appoint a single surveyor. This agreed surveyor would typically produce a legally binding document, also known as an Award, to settle the dispute between the two owners in the same way a judge would at Court.

If the adjoining owner decides to consent to their neighbour’s work, there would be no need for an Award or a party wall surveyor. Party Wall Surveyors are there for adjoining owners in case they want to instigate a dispute, so their interests are protected by someone who understands the dispute, is independent, and is familiar with the construction procedures and party wall matters.


Party Wall Disputes Costs


All fees, including surveyor fees, should be covered by the party completing the work in this type of dispute. They should also cover the adjoining owner’s surveyor if they wish to have a separate one.

The Party Wall Award should contain all information relating to the building work such as the extent, restrictions on the timing of the works, and any further work that may be required. If this results in any losses or damages for the adjoining owner, the award should include a level of compensation that will be payable to the party who suffers.

If the owner disagrees with the surveyor’s award, they may appeal to the County Court. The award will only be overturned by the Court if they feel that the surveyors have not followed the dispute resolution procedure set out in the Act.

In some circumstances, a costs order will be made against the adjoining owner if, for example, they have acted unreasonably during the dispute. In the case of Amir-Siddique v Kowaliw & Anor (18 May 2018), an adjoining owner was held liable for payment of £595 for the fees of their appointed surveyor. The Judge held that the adjoining neighbour had acted unreasonably by not allowing the other party to use their preferred surveyor and no justification was given for this. This was described by the Judge as a “wholly unnecessary cost.”


Party Wall Surveyor Fees

Party Wall Surveyors operate under fixed fees for simple work such as a loft conversion or extension. They will need to see drawings of the planned works without the intention to redesign in order to find out whether it is eligible under the fixed fee arrangement.

Surveyor charges can be thousands of pounds depending on the work which includes their travel time and the location. For instance, major works such as a basement excavation would mean that the building owner is charged on an hourly rate to include all correspondence between surveyors (not including a schedule of condition).


How can ARC Costs Assist? 

If you are involved in a party wall dispute and have obtained an order for party wall disputes costs, our team of Costs Lawyers and Draftsmen can assist by drafting a Bill of Costs and negotiating costs with the other side. If you have received a costs order against you, we can help to content the bill of costs using Points of Dispute.

To discuss your party wall disputes costs further, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01204 397302 or email one of the team at Alternatively, you may complete our online enquiry form and we will be in touch to discuss your query further on the same day.


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