Why Should I Have to Pay to Use My Neighbour’s Wall?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

My neighbour is building a single story extension down the side of their house and coming off the boundary wall which is ours?

They drafted a letter asking us to sign, stating certain things but under advise i was told to insist on a Party wall agreement that will cover both sides and that they were liable for the cost. So reluctantly I told them and a few weeks later I had a response from them stating that if in the future we ever decided to build off of that wall then we had to pay them for half the cost of the actual wall? Is this right?

I am not an unreasonable person but i do not feel we should have to pay them if they are the first to build. I have spoken to a few developer friends who state they have never heard of this and worried that they are trying to reclaim some costs back?

Can you advise me ASAP as their surveyor is coming in 2 days time to meet and I’m not sure what to say?

Also in his phone call he said that he would need to confirm that he has permission to discuss everything with us? what could they possibly have to hide?

Answer

If they are building a new wall astride the boundary then you would have a right to enclose it in the future if you were to build an extension. If that were to happen section 11(11) of the Party Wall would be invoked which states:

The total cost of building the wall – so that would include the material and labour costs of the wall and the foundations.

Where use is subsequently made by the adjoining owner of work carried out solely at the expense of the building owner the adjoining owner shall pay a due proportion of the expenses incurred by the building owner in carrying out that work; and for this purpose he shall be taken to have incurred expenses calculated by reference to what the cost of the work would be if it were carried out at the time when that subsequent use is made.

The percentage would normally be 50%. The important point is that you are not obliged to contribute towards the cost of the wall unless you use it – which would seem fair.

If the wall is built wholly on your neighbour land then you would not be allowed to enclose it without their consent.

Follow-up

So what exactly are we agreeing to pay 50% towards? the wall or the foundations and the wall?

Answer

The total cost of building the wall – so that would include the material and labour costs of the wall and the foundations.