You’ll probably need to get a party wall agreement from your neighbours if you live in a terraced house or semi-detached house. Due to the fact that most building work involves structural changes to shared walls, chimneys, and roofs, adjoining properties could be damaged. The Party Wall Act provides a solution for resolving disputes and protecting all parties involved.
Loft Conversion: How does the Party Wall Act 1996 come into effect?
The Party Wall Act 1996 protects you as well as your neighbours. This law grants you a legal right to carry out reasonable renovations such as a loft conversion and permits neighbours to raise disputes. In the event that a dispute arises, the Party Wall Act 1996 outlines the steps necessary to resolve matters in the best interests of all parties.
According to the Party Wall Act, you must get your neighbours’ consent before you can make any loft alterations that could cause damage to their property. The Act sets a strict deadline for formal notices and agreements to prevent mishaps, resolve problems and ensure the transaction goes smoothly.
Party Structure Notices
The purpose of the Party Structure Notices is to offer neighbours a chance to object to any proposals that could affect their property. A chat with everyone about your plans may help you determine if they’re on board, but you will still have to give notice and get written permission.
The neighbours have 14 days to respond once they receive the notice. They can either give their consent in writing, refuse to agree, or simply do nothing.
In the event that your neighbour fails to reply within 14 days to your Party Structure Notice, it means they have objected to the works in accordance with the Party Wall Act. Before you can legally begin your loft conversion, you’ll need to consult a surveyor.
Loft Conversion works, that require Party Wall Agreements
A party wall agreement is required for almost any work that involves a wall or structure shared by two or more properties. You’ll need a written agreement, for example, if you want to:
- Remove a chimney breast
- Use the wall as a load-bearing wall
- Rebuild, remove sections or remove the entire wall
- Insert a damp proof course
- Underpin the entire length of the wall
- Increase the wall’s height or thickness
If you make changes to a party wall without the written approval of your neighbours, you will very certainly face fines, legal penalties, and disgruntled familiar faces.
Can I convert my loft without an agreement?
A party wall agreement is not necessarily required for a loft conversion. There is no need to obtain authorization if you do not need to change the structure of the party barriers. As a result, you can normally express your creative side and paint and wallpaper your walls however you choose.
A party wall agreement is not required if:
- Your loft is located on top of a detached house or solitary structure.
- You use a purpose-built column rather than the party wall, to sustain the beam throughout construction.
When party wall issues are particularly problematic, using columns and non-party walls to support loft conversions can be a sensible idea. A Chartered Surveyor from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors can advise you on whether requirements apply to you.
How RICS Surveyors can help you
People often try to reduce the cost of their loft conversion by achieving party wall agreements without the help of qualified surveyors. But surveyors possess a wealth of knowledge on all things related to property and can offer invaluable advice, potentially saving you a lot of money in the process.
Surveyors relieve you of several time-consuming duties. They are able to:
- Prepare all the documents
- Serve notices on your behalf
- Assist you in understanding your costs
- Serve as a go-between for you and any affected neighbours.
- Avoid disputes if your loft conversion is to be completed on time.
- Settle the argument and find a solution, if your neighbour refuses to offer consent.
- Identify flaws that could lead to potentially disastrous issues.
- Make certain that you never miss a deadline.
It is usually more affordable to hire an agreed surveyor to resolve disputes, however, you should remember that your neighbour will have the right to engage their own surveyor, and you will have to pay their fees.
At Prinsegate Chartered Surveyors, we’re making party wall agreements, valuations and surveys more straightforward, useful and affordable than ever before.
If you want expert property advice from a forward-thinking team of friendly professionals, don’t hesitate to chat with us online, send us a message or give us a call.