Party Wall Damaged by Neighbour

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

In August of last year, the tenants in a rented property next door to mine, emptied a large paddling pool that was resting on a trampoline. The strength and sustained flow of water pushed over our party wall, destroying plants, hindering access to the garden and and causing irrepairable damage to around 3meters of length of the wall.

Very quickly I sought the advice of a RCIS surveyor who wrote a report stating that the damage had been caused by a force from the other side which he commented looked like a car had hit it. He also make a comment in his report that the wall was sound and unlikely to have collapsed unless hit with such extreme force.

Our insurers and that of the landlord would not pay to repair the wall and I am now looking at legal proceedings to have the landlord personally pay the full cost of the rebuild of the wall in light of the irresponsible actions of his tenants; ultimately I will ask for a fence to be erected once the wall is rebuilt.

Would you please be able to tell me what I would need to do now to hurry things along?

Answer

I’m a bit confused over the status of the damaged wall – you refer to it as “our party wall” but a wall will normally be a shared when termed “party”. If the wall is shared its repair (rebuilding) is covered by section 2(2)(b) of the Act. You should serve a Party Structure Notice and make it clear that you believe your neighbour’s actions to be responsible for the damage.  

If there is a dispute (or a deemed dispute due to a lack of response) surveyors will need to be appointed to resolve. The surveyors will then determine the cause as well as which owner must pay their fees (which should follow cause).  If the obligations within that award are not adhered to (such as paying the repair costs) in can be enforced in court.