Martin Arnold are experts in Neighbourly Matters, a term used to describe common issues that can arise between neighbouring property owners, such as rights of access, crane and oversail, boundary and Party Wall matters. We understand how these issues can easily disrupt and delay a project, therefore our team are on hand to provide advice to manage these them effectively.
Are you aware whether the works for your project require a neighbour’s consent?
It is essential to review any neighbourly matters which may affect your project at the earliest opportunity. Whether the permissions you require are under the process of the Party Wall Act, or whether they simply require an agreement or licence from a neighbouring property to permit access, these agreements all take time. You should commission a surveyor’s review immediately to ascertain whether any neighbouring properties or land may be affected by your project, and seek advice as to what notifications needs to be given to the neighbours to allow you to complete your works successfully.
Are you clear on who is dealing with these required permissions?
At the outset of the project you, as the Building Owner, should be clear on the line of responsibility when it comes to enabling your works. You should be clear with your contractor whether the responsibility for access permissions sits with them or whether it is something that you will aim to resolve long before the project reaches site. Either way, the legal responsibility for Party Wall Matters sits with the registered title owner of the property and whilst the programming requirement can be passed onto the contractor, the Building Owner must take responsibility for ensuring that the right appointments are in place and the correct Notices have been served, and Awards agreed, to facilitate the works. The legal requirement for the payment of any costs associated with the Party Wall Act also sits directly with the Building Owner, something which is often forgotten and can cause unnecessary disputes throughout the process if not dealt with effectively.
Did you answer NO to any of the above? What are the risks?
There is no deemed right of access to another person’s land without the relevant notifications or agreements being in place. It may be that the notifiable works that you are undertaking permit a right of access through the Party Wall Act, however this needs to be correctly notified to, and agreed by, the adjoining owners. Without these agreements being in place, you would be in breach of the Act and therefore at risk of a court injunction being served against you and your works. Your works may also not be notifiable under the Act; if so, then you would need to seek a separate agreement from the neighbouring owner if you need to gain access to their land to complete them. Once again, without the relevant agreements being in place, you can run the risk of committing a trespass, which may also be subject to an injunction.
If you are in any doubt about the requirements on your project, we would be delighted to speak with you and discuss the next steps. We can provide you with a copy of our Capability Statement regarding Neighbourly Matters and can also offer various CPD sessions on the subjects.
Should you wish to discuss Party Wall matters further, please contact our Director, Tom Hopkins, who would be happy to assist you.