Five things owners should know about the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
1. Once you appoint a surveyor under section 10 of the Act, you cannot sack him – so choose carefully, and choose someone who knows what they are talking about.
2. You only have 14 days from receipt of a party wall award to appeal – if you receive an award which you disagree with and want to challenge, take legal advice immediately, and from a specialist.
3. Just because your neighbour has said he is happy for you to build your extension, does not mean you don’t have to serve a notice under the Act – if you are planning to build at or near the boundary line, or dig foundations within 3 metres of your neighbour’s building or wall, you will probably need to serve a notice under the Act. Take advice.
4. If you serve notices under the Act, your neighbours can appoint their own surveyor, and you will have to pay for the costs of that surveyor – only the “reasonable” costs of that surveyor, mind you, but you may still think them extortionate.
5. Party wall surveyors have no power to decide where the boundary between properties is – if you do not agree that the boundary is where your neighbour says it is, make this clear to the party wall surveyors, and demand that the boundary is agreed, or determined in court, before they make an award which depends on it.
Learn more by buying my book “The Law and Practice of Party Walls”