What are my rights of access onto my neighbour’s Land to carry out my project works under the Party Wall Act?
If a Notice is served under Section 1 let’s say for example to build a new wall along a line of junction/boundary line (either as a Party Fence Wall or a wall built wholly on your side of the boundary) or if a Notice is served under Section 2 to raise or rebuild a party wall/party fence wall there is a right of access onto your neighbour’s land.
If Notice is served under Section 6 to excavate for foundations then access may be required to place safety hoardings in order to keep the adjoining neighbour(s) safe.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 states that a Building Owner may enter onto an Adjoining Owner’s land “for the purpose of executing any work in pursuance of this Act”. This means that any notifiable works could allow you rights of entry regardless of your neighbour’s objections. As a result, there will be a necessary inconvenience on the neighbour(s) arising out of your development, since part of their land will be temporarily occupied to enable the placement of protective hoardings and possibly scaffolding.
However, I would state your rights under the Act are only for carrying out necessary works and do not give you authority to use your neighbour’s land as a site compound area to store site materials. As soon as you have completed your excavation works, laid foundations and built your wall up to the boundary then you will need to remove protective hoardings and reinstate your neighbour’s garden area.
So how long can I legally occupy my neighbour’s land during my project? This depends on the scale of the project and it is for the appointed party wall surveyor(s) to agree and stipulate within the Award. This could be a period of 4 to 10 weeks say a domestic extension or possibly up to 2 years for a major development such as the construction of a tower block.
No doubt as a Building Owner it would be in your best interests to maintain good neighbourly relations to ensure the smooth running of your project and safeguard your neighbour’s property interests. At Arun Associates our surveyors are very conscientious of the need to minimise the extent of disruption that could be caused upon the Adjoining Owners and we would examine the nature of the works and agree a works programme that would suit the needs of all the parties affected.
Other than access and programme we will also agree and award on those protective measures that will need to be put in place in order to minimise the risk to damage to your neighbour’s property. This will be covered by Arun Associates under a separate posting in the near future.
If you have any party wall access right issues or concerns in respect of your forthcoming project or your neighbour’s project you are welcome to call us on 020 3095 2793 or message us at Arun Associates by clicking here.