If I Consent am I Agreeing to Pay for any Damage Caused by my Neighbour’s Work?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

My neighbour is renovating his house and has issued me with a party wall notice. I am happy for him to do the work and do not wish to subject him to the surveyor’s fees associated with a party wall agreement, however, I do want some protection against his work causing significant damage to my house. If I consent to his notice, am I agreeing to foot the bill for any damage that his work may cause to my house? Is a full blown party wall agreement the only way to get any protect myself or does the notice itself imply any responsibility on his side to repair damage?

Answer

Your neighbour will be responsible for the damage that his building work causes whether you consent or not. What a party wall agreement seeks to do is limit the risk of such damage occurring and make it easier to deal with if it does.

You don’t give any details of the proposed work but if there is a realistic chance of damage occurring I would recommend that you at least have a schedule of condition prepared on your property so that in the event of damage occurring your neighbour cannot claim that it was pre-existing. You would have to gain your neighbour’s agreement to foot the cost of preparing the schedule as once you consent he will not be obliged to do so. Recent case law has shown that even if you choose to consent you can still appoint a surveyer later if damage were to occur.