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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Wednesday 9 November 2016


They call it the Party Wall etc Act 1996 - you could have done without the etc, Your Majesty and Parliament - and it comes into play when you are intending to do something partywallish. That, for example, might be erecting a new wall at the boundary of your property and that of your neighbour, cutting into a party wall or making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper. There's helpful guidance on the legislation at gov.uk 

If there is one thing that might put you off the idea of party wall work it's this. The moment you whisper something about it to your cat, signals will be picked up by an array of party wall surveyors who will communicate with you and plead with you to instruct them to act for you (and possibly your neighbour) in the matter.

Party wall surveyors were involved in a case which was before the Court of Appeal last Thursday. Gray v Elite Town Management Ltd it was called. One of the important issues which had to be decided was what was meant by part of the Act which says that the person carrying out the work must not cause unnecessary inconvenience to the adjoining property owner or occupier. The appeal court ruled that this related to the manner in which the works were carried out and not the actual scheme. The scheme did not have to be the one which caused the minimum of inconvenience and so there was no obligation on the part of the party wall surveyors to authorise the scheme which caused the minimum inconvenience.