If you are a property owner, you are very likely to be involved in property disputes. That is why you need experts in property laws to act as litigators in case such conflicts arise. Getting in touch with specialists in property law helps you navigate any difficult issues that involve property.
One such area that usually gives rise to disputes is party walls law. This law, common in England and Wales, has constantly caused disputes, but the good news is that the conflicts can be resolved and even prevented. Once you have found a way to resolve any issue surrounding party walls, you can easily proceed with your planned work.
In this article, we look in detail at what party walls are and give comprehensive guidance on how we can resolve and prevent issues caused by party walls. Let us get started.
What is a Party Wall?
The 1996 Party Wall Act defines a party wall as:
”(i) a wall which forms part of a building and stands on lands of different owners to a greater extent than the projection of artificially formed support on which the wall rests; and (ii) so much of a wall not being a wall referred to in paragraph(i) above as separates buildings belonging to different owners.”
The term ‘party structures’ is also discussed in the Act. They describe a party wall, a floor partition or any other structure that keeps apart buildings or parts of buildings that can only be accessed by a separate staircase or entrance.
It is important to be very careful when involved in any construction work to avoid landing into party wall disputes. It would help to speak to qualified experts to help you know whether your project is covered in the 1996 Party Wall Act. Visit the Humphreyandsons homepage if you are looking for qualified party wall surveyors.
Preventing and Resolving Party Wall Issues
Below are some approaches you can use to resolve party wall issues:
Speak to Your Neighbors Prior to Commencing a Project
You can easily avoid disputes if all the parties involved give the go-ahead for your project to continue. That is why you should first speak with your neighbors in advance to get consent to proceed. You must make sure that you clearly explain what you are planning and ensure any concerns that they have are addressed to their satisfaction. Speaking to them early helps them resolve any issue that may arise instead of proceeding with a project without discussing with neighbors first.
In case both parties disagree, section 10 of the 1996 Party Wall Act allows the parties to appoint a party wall surveyor, which can then help settle the matter amicably. The surveyor has the right to determine how the parties involved in a dispute will proceed with the project.
Seeking Expert Witness Reports and Evidence
Sometimes you can be involved in a property dispute just because either of the parties involved feels that they are right regarding the contention issue. That is why seeking expert advice is important to help the parties involved point out the real facts. Seeking specialist opinion can help settle matters before they escalate to court, and sometimes, disputes can be solved without a solicitor being involved.
Both parties involved in a party wall dispute should seek expert opinion, which can assist them in understanding the strengths of their positions. One party might be arguing from misconceptions, which can be pointed out by the experts.