Party Wall Needs to Be Re-built to Comply With Building Regulations – Who Pays?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

We own a semi detached house which is let to a tenant.  The adjoining neighbours want to undertake some work including a new kitchen in the rear extension. Both houses have the rear extension but I have no idea which was built first as they both seem to have been in place for many years.  Their builder has advised that the extension’s party wall is only a partition wall and needs to come down and be re-built to conform to current building regulations.

We don’t have a problem with this but they are asking us to contribute £1200 plus VAT which seems steep and we cannot afford this.  Do we have to contribute to the costs at all as the work is being undertaken at their behest?

Answer

Should your neighbours wish to re-build the wall between the 2 extensions they should first serve notice under section 2 of the Party Wall Act. If notice is served under section 2(2)(b) which deals with re-building defective party walls then there will be some liability on your part.

If the notice is under section 2(2)(a) or (c) then the Building Owners must pay for the work. (c) would only apply if the partition wall was built after 1996.

So, unless the partition wall is unfit for its current purpose you will not have to contribute towards rebuilding it. Your neighbour can still re-build it, subject to serving notice, but the works should be undertaken at their own expense.