Do I Need to Serve Notice to Rebuild a Porch?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

We own an Edwardian mid terrace house in West London . Our property shares front entrance, wooden tile roofed porch (east west construction) with the property next door. The property next door is divided into two flats, both with their own separate entrances. The porch front door forms the private entrance to the upstairs flat.

The said porch is rotten an needs replacing and is something we are urgently trying to progress. We have enquired of our neighbours as to where the party wall boundaries lie as it is something that would be a shared cost between 2 or 3 parties. We own the freehold to our property & the flats are shared freehold. The owner occupied downstairs flat shared the original documents with us regarding the demise of the property, the party wall conditions of the original lease & land registry survey drawing from when the property was originally split.

The LR drawing lays out the footprint, boundaries etc of the lower property and the private front entrance of the upper property. It marks the upper properties front path (from the pavement) front steps, porch, door and internal front staircase as different from the lower flat. With the party wall shown as that that runs inside the front door & up the internal staircase to the right. On the left the is the party boundary with ourselves.

The owners of the upstairs flat ( who rent out their property & live in the north of the country) believe that the front porch whilst still their private entrance; to be a shared freehold issue & a party issue between themselves, the downstairs owners & ourselves. The owner of the downstairs flat disagrees, referring back to the original documents & the LR survey drawing.

We fear that a dispute is likely to arise between the upstairs & downstairs parties who are trying to agree another rather more comprehensive schedule of works. If we get agreement, the letting agents & the upstairs property owners are keen for use to use their contractors for the additional porch work (as some sort of add in) although we and the owners of the downstairs flat are not minded to agree to that & would prefer and independent contractor.

How do we best proceed in view of the above?

Answer

If the porch has become rotten I am assuming it is a timber structure (or at least the defective parts are timber). Only solid structures (brick, block, concrete etc.) come within the scope of the Party Wall Act so this work would not be notifiable.

While I sympathise with your problem, responsibility for the repair is therefore a legal issue and not the subject of www.partywalladvice.com.