Tips for Getting Your Neighbors to Consent to a Party Wall Notice

A party wall agreement is usually required for terraced or semi detached properties for works around the party wall. Our surveyors have obtain many party wall agreement awards in London for homeowners who wanted to extend or convert their house.

The Party Wall Act 1996 provides the framework for preventing and resolving party wall disputes. This act makes sure that building owners starting work on a party wall give the adjoining owners notice of their intentions. This allows an adjoining owner to have a say in what works are carried out, giving them the opportunity to agree or disagree to the proposal, and makes sure any work that is carried out does not damage their property.

In negotiating with your neighbors it is important to put yourself in their shoes – what are their likely concerns? What would you be worried about in their situation? Top concerns are likely to be damage to their property, devaluing of their property, welfare of their pets or children and the noise and inconvenience. Dobuild Construction in London has been involved with many construction projects that require party wall agreement and created a top 5 tips to help homeowners increase their chance to obtain the agreement. There are several ways in which you can help smooth things along and keep everyone happy:

1. Have a friendly conversation

If it arrives out of nowhere, having a legal-looking formal Party Wall Notice drop through your door can be a bit of a shock. It will help matters considerably if you can chat to your neighbors about your plans well in advance and do everything possible to set their minds at rest.  Sit down with them well before the notice arrives, explain your proposed works and how they might affect your neighbor. It is a good idea to do this as soon as you have the first drawing, or even sooner if you have a good idea of the plans. Remember that they are going to have to put up with a lot of noise and disruption without any apparent benefit to themselves. You can point out that if they or subsequent owners of their property want to do a loft conversion it will add value to their property, and they are more likely to get planning permission if it has already been granted for your property.

2. Hear them out

Your neighbors may have concerns about how the proposed works will affect them. The key thing is to listen to their worries and do your best to alleviate them. For example, they may have young children or pets and be anxious about their welfare while the work takes place. If you were able to show your neighbor that you are willing to accommodate their concerns by putting up a hoarding, for example, to keep the properties separate, this will help. You may want to assure them that you are happy to amend your plans within reason to accommodate their concerns at this stage. It is often worthwhile to show yourself to be amenable in order to get guaranteed consent once the notice has been served.

3. Share drawings with them

Your neighbors don’t need to see all the technical drawings for your proposed works, but providing them with a set of drawings in an easy-to-read format will help them to understand exactly what you are proposing  and you’re more likely to get them on your side.

4. Serve your notice early

Giving your adjoining neighbors plenty of time to consider your proposal and discuss it with you is by far the best approach. If you wait until the last minute to serve notice you’ll have a recipe for disaster, partly because it could look suspiciously like you’re trying to rush them into a decision. If this is how they end up feeling, they are more likely to seek advice from a surveyor to safeguard their interests and you will be responsible for footing the bill.

5. Offer to pay for a Schedule of Condition

If your neighbor is generally anxious about your project but not about any specific part, you might be able to reassure them by arranging a Schedule of Condition to be carried out by a qualified surveyor. A Schedule of Condition records the current state of areas of your adjoining neighbor’s home that might be affected by your proposed works. This makes it easy to identify any damage that is caused as a direct result of the works and rectify it without dispute once the work is complete. It also prevents your neighbor from making any false claims against you.

Unfortunately, some neighbors will simply refuse to be won over and will dispute a Party Wall Notice – just because they can (and at your expense)! But if you follow the steps outlined above, you might be able to save yourself a bit of trouble and expense and get consent for your works without too much stress.

Contact our expert construction team today to learn how we could benefit your project in London. Call us on 0203 916 5327 or email us at info@dobuild.co.uk to arrange a free no obligation consultation and quote.

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