If you’re planning a project that may affect the party walls of your property, you’ll need to inform your neighbours with a party wall notice. In this blog, we’ll explain how long a Party Wall Agreement is valid for and where to find any key information you may need.
So, how long is a Party Wall Agreement valid for? A Party Wall Agreement is generally valid for one year from the date of the award. This agreement needs to be set up before any construction work takes place.
Keep reading to find out more about the Party Wall Agreement as well as how it works for adjoining owners and surveyors.
How Long is a Party Wall Agreement Legally Valid?
Generally, a Party Wall Agreement is legally valid for one year from the date of the award. According to the Act, a building owner has to commence works within one year of the award being deemed to have been validly served.
That being said, if an award is served and there are no disputes from either party, the date upon which the clock will start ticking will be 14 days after the date of service. This is because the Act provides 14 days in which opposing parties can raise an appeal.
Under the act, any party to the award can appeal the surveyor(s) decision or any of the terms and conditions therein to a County Court within 14 days of receipt of the award. If one of the parties to the award decides to file action, the clock would not start ticking until a final determination was made by the court.
Litigation can be a long drawn out and costly exercise, which is why if you can, it’s always best to avoid it.
How Long in Advance Do You Have To Serve The Notice?
You need to serve notice at least two months before the planned starting date for work to the party wall. The adjoining owner may agree to allow works to start earlier but is not obliged to, even when agreement on the works is reached. The notice is only valid for a year, so do not serve it too long before you wish to start.
Does The Party Wall Agreement Have a Statutory Limitation Period For Surveyors?
It’s worth noting that there is no statutory limitation period with regard to surveyors. It would appear that under The Party Wall etc. Act 1996, surveyors have been granted powers to act in relation to; “any other matter arising out of or incidental to the dispute”.
There are no time limitation restrictions on surveyors to resolve disputes. As long as the damage caused to an adjoining owner’s property was caused by works that had been carried out under a Party Wall Award, the surveyor has the power under the Act, to enforce compensation or draw up a new award.
However, if the building owner fails to comply with the terms or conditions of the new Award, an application to the Court to enforce it must be made within 6 years of the date of the new Award.
When Does an Adjoining Owners’ Protection Expire Under Party Wall Awards?
This is a difficult question to answer because it is not addressed under the provisions of the Act. However, an answer can be found under sections 2, 7 or 9 of the Limitation Act 1980.
Under section 2 of the Limitation Act 1980, an adjoining owner has a right to make a claim for monies owed under the Award directly to the court. If monies are owed as a result of the award specifying that monies should be paid within a certain time frame, then the claim must be made within a maximum of 6 years from the expiry of the date that was stipulated by the Party Wall Award.
Under section 9 of the Limitation Act 1980, an adjoining owner can make a claim directly to the Court for monies due under a statute. It is worth noting that a claim under this section must be commenced within six years of the date that the claim arose.
Why Choose Crest Chartered Surveyors For Your Party Wall Agreement
If you’re planning to carry out home improvement projects on the boundary walls of your home or garden, you’ll need a Party Wall Agreement with affected neighbours before works can begin. Whilst builders and contractors can advise you, they will not be able to service a party wall notice on your behalf.
Here are some reasons why you should choose Crest:
All of our surveyors are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), some of which are also members of the Institute of Party Wall Surveyors.
We have extremely high standards and are committed to upholding strict RICS standards in all works.
We’ll always go the extra mile to ensure that hassle and stress is kept to a minimum.
Party Wall Surveys at Crest Chartered Surveyors
Now that you know how long a Party Wall Agreement is valid for, take a look at Crest Chartered Surveyors Party Wall Surveys.
If you’re planning a project that may affect the party walls of your property, you’ll need to inform your neighbours with a party wall notice. Here at Crest Chartered Surveyors, we’ll help you draft this notice and handle any disputes on the way to obtaining your Party Wall Agreement .
Call us on 020 3940 1118 for more information or get in touch today with our friendly team to find out more.
What is a Party Wall Agreement?
The Party Wall Agreement provides a framework for preventing or resolving disputes in relation to party walls, party structures, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.
The agreement came into effect on the 1st of July 1997 and applies throughout England and Wales. (Note – The Act does not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland).
Anyone planning to carry out work of the kinds described in the Act must give Adjoining Owners notice of their intentions. The Act applies even to Crown, government and local authority owned property. Where the intended work is to an existing party wall (section 2 of the Act) a notice must be given even where the work will not extend beyond the centre line of a party wall.
What Does The Agreement Cover?
The Party Wall Agreement covers:
Various work that is going to be carried out directly to an existing party wall or party structure (paragraphs 4 to 20)
New building at or astride the boundary line between properties (paragraphs 22 to 26)
Excavation within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring building(s) or structure(s), depending on the depth of the hole or proposed foundations (paragraphs 28 to 30).
Work may fall within more than one of the above categories and involve different types of buildings and structures for example, houses, garages and office buildings.
If you are not sure whether the Act applies to the work that you are planning, you may want to seek professional advice.
What is a Party Wall?
The Act recognises two main types of party wall:
Party Wall Type A
A wall is a “party wall” if it stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two (or more) different owners.
Such a wall:
is part of one building
or separates two (or more) buildings
or consists of a “party fence wall”
A wall is a “party fence wall” if it is not part of a building, and stands astride the boundary line between lands of different owners and is used to separate those lands (for example a masonry garden wall). This does not include such things as wooden fences or hedges.
Party Wall Type B
A wall is also a “party wall” if it stands wholly on one owner’s land, but is used by two (or more) owners to separate their buildings.
An example of this is where one person has built the wall in the first place, and another has built their building up against it without constructing their own wall.
*It may also be useful to know which walls are NOT party walls – These include boundary walls (a fence wall/garden wall built wholly on one owner’s land) and external walls (the wall of a building built up to but not astride the boundary).