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The Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighboring buildings.

A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions in the way set down in the Act. Adjoining owners can agree or disagree with what is proposed. Where they disagree, the Act provides a mechanism for resolving disputes.

The Act is separate from obtaining planning permission or building regulations approval.

If a neighbour is carrying out works that fall within the Act but has not served the required notice there are steps you can take to force the neighbour to stop those works until they have done so. That might include making an application to the county court for an interim injunction.

If works go wrong or damage is caused to your property during the course of such works then it is usually beneficial if the works have been completed pursuant to the Act.  The Act does not have retrospective effect which means the Act cannot be applied after the works have been completed.

So if a neighbour is doing party wall works without having served a party wall notice then taking advice on whether to force the neighbour to comply with the Act is something that should be urgently considered. Philip Bagley, our solicitor in our property litigation team has experience with dealing with party wall disputes and can be contacted on 0117 904 6000.