Party Wall Agreement

Hi there! Looking for some advice! We are currently in the process of having our loft converted, and are at the stage of getting party wall agreement.
We live on the top floor of a semi-detached converted victorian house, with a flat below us, and then the same next door.
Do we need to get party wall agreement from all three flat owners- below, and both next door?
Appreciate any help from professionals or people who have done the same thing !

Thanks :slight_smile:

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Good question. I don’t know answer, but do all flats happen to have a single freeholder?

This Govt website is really helpful and the booklet you can download explains it all https://www.gov.uk/guidance/party-wall-etc-act-1996-guidance

You can even get templates to do it yourself.

If your neighbour with adjoining wall has one freeholder you are probably best just going straight to them.

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If you intend to build your new wall on the ‘line of junction’ with your neighbouring property [rather than step it in by a prescribed distance, in order to avoid Party Wall Notice[s]], then you need to discover the name of neighbouring freeholder from a £3.00 online Land Registry application. You need to register as a private individual with the Land Registry online and then download one of two documents to understand this - basically, the Title Registration and not the Title Plan, which will be another £3.00.

Your proposed Party Wall Notice should be served on the neighbouring freeholder[s] only in my view within at least one month prior to works and they will have the legal right to appoint their own surveyor at your expense and to appoint a 3rd surveyor in the event of a dispute [again, at your expense as builder]. Out of courtesy [and to avoid a reasonable delay to your project], you should provide a copy of correspondence to the immediate flat neighbour, who will be affected by any disturbance!].
As your new, additional Party Wall will likely affect only the immediate flat owner next door, then you should not have to serve Notice on your downstairs neighbours. However, you are legally obliged to request from your own freeholder/other freehold sharers in the building for written permission prior to commencing works. If you own part of your freehold, you still need written permission from the other co-freeholders.
Do not undertake any works until you have received a resolved response to your appropriate Party Wall Notice and you should really appoint a qualified Party Wall Surveyor to deal with the process from start to finish. The best advice is that your PW Notice will recommend the appointment of a ‘jointly appointed PW Surveyor’ - namely, the firm you choose and then wait for the neighbouring freeholder to agree. However, they probably won’t!

I’m not sure all this is correct. If they are putting a beam into / doing structural works to the wall I think it’s 2 months notice. Also think it would affect downstairs neighbours (since the wall is a single entity, but not certain about this).

Also, I’d try to avoid surveyors writing the award. The whole thing is a racket. My neighbour agreed based on a schedule of condition by an RICS surveyor. He still had all his rights to protection.

If you are proposing a loft conversion, the work will be notifiable under 3(1) of the Act exercising rights under 2(2). This means in simple terms, you need to serve Party Structure Notice(s) (not Line of Junction Notice(s) on ‘Adjoining Owners’.

You should complete Land Registry searches to confirm who owns the adjoining properties. A leasehold flat not immediately adjoining (i.e. at ground floor level or below) does not count. Normally in these circumstances I would serve Notice on the adjoining freeholder(s) and top floor leaseholder(s). But, if the two are one of the same, service of Notice on the freeholder would suffice.

Loft conversions normally are straight forward in context of party wall matters however there are considerations to bear in mind:

  1. Construction over the party wall at roof level prejudicing future rights of the adjoining owner - essentially if you build a dormer cheek on top of the party wall, this in my view is a problem

  2. Detailing at roof level i.e flashings - poor detailing means possible roof leaks

  3. Penetration of beams into the party wall travelling no further than 50% into wall thickness - this is an issue when the separating party walls are only a half brick thick

I would also recommend appointing a decent party wall surveyor to prepare and serve the notices for you as it is possible to get them wrong.

Further, I suggest a friendly conversion with the relevant neighbours before serving Notice(s).

Kind regards

Keith Eades-Levy

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The Notice period for Party Structure Notice works is 2 months, but can be waived by Adjoining Owners.

@avgarthwaite,

I did a similar loft conversion with my property in Forest Hill. I (wrongly) thought I could do the notices myself with government templates - it turns out they were wrong which delayed my build for about a month. In the end I ended up getting a Surveyor to serve the notices.
We had to serve notices to the flat below us as well as the freeholder for our property. We also served notices to the neighbouring property - both leaseholders and freeholder.

My surveyor managed to obtain consent from all three leasholders as the freeholders both dissented, which was great news as it help contain the costs.

I would recommend you contact Mr Ahmed on 020 8115 3553 for some advice and possibly get him to serve the notices to your neighbours on your behalf.

ps. he did my notices free of charge.

Regards,

Tony.

Thanks everyone- and sorry for the delay in responding! Your replies are super helpful :slight_smile:

Upstairs and downstairs next door share the freehold, and the downstairs flat owner to us is actually also the freeholder of our building- so he is already involved in the scheme from that perspective.
Sounds like from what you guys have said, it depends on the works that are being carried out. But will definitely give Mr Ahmed a call!! Thanks so much :slight_smile: