Forum Home» In my home (includes DIY) MoneySaving

Party Wall Act - Extortionate fees and ruins relations with neighbours

New Post Advanced Search
Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.

Party Wall Act - Extortionate fees and ruins relations with neighbours

30 replies 1.1K views
mug2007mug2007 Forumite
39 posts
Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker

Still in shock over the £4300 bill from the party wall surveyors.  

All was going well with our building plans, included a single storey extension next to the neighbour’s house on one side and underpinning and adding a foundation pad to our 1960s extension near the other neighbour’s side.  All straight forward works wholly our land. 

As per the government explanatory booklet I reached an agreement with the neighbours regarding the party wall. We agreed I would pay for a chartered surveyor to carry out a record of condition and ensure we made good any damage in return for their consent. 

I asked our surveyor to send out the notices and then all went wrong…

The surveyor recommended they dissent and at the last minute both neighbours changed their minds, dissented and appointed their own surveyor.

The neighbours spent £3060 of our money on awards containing information such as: all works at building owners cost, minimise disruption, clear away dust, make good any damage and no excavation on neighbours land. The awards are of questionable value when the act already covers causing unnecessary inconvenience and making good any damage caused by the works.  Not forgetting that the awards are limited to a tiny part of the building project, the party wall.

It cost more than drawing up our building plans and longer than obtaining planning permission. 

It felt like having a divorce with the neighbours but still living next door.

It’s no wonder many building owners don’t serve the notices given it’s unlikely your neighbours will seek an injunction.

The Party Wall Act surely needs reforming. 


«13

Replies

  • mug2007mug2007 Forumite
    39 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    That is the scary thing about serving the notice, you send a notice asking them to consent, dissent with agreed surveyor or dissent appointing a different surveyor. All at your expense.   Empowering your neighbour to throw £1000s of your pounds down the drain.

    Dissent appointing a different surveyor means paying two surveyors £150 per hour each to draw up an agreement  :o
  • AskAskAskAsk Forumite
    1.5K posts
    1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭
    if i remember correctly, i have had to instruct surveyors for party wall twice, and they agreed with the other surveyor.  i didn't know you could just have one surveyor?
  • mug2007mug2007 Forumite
    39 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Yes, you can and it is a good idea if you speak to your neighbour before serving the notice to see if they will agree with the same/agreed surveyor.  I asked my neighbour if they would like to choose the party wall surveyor but turned out they felt their views wouldn’t be considered unless they had their own.  They have to be impartial anyway and ours had many years experience. So apart from paying double fees and adding even more indirectness to the whole situation, not sure if anything is gained.  Obviously no cost to neighbour so they choose whatever they want.
  • AskAskAskAsk Forumite
    1.5K posts
    1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭
    mug2007 said:
    Yes, you can and it is a good idea if you speak to your neighbour before serving the notice to see if they will agree with the same/agreed surveyor.  I asked my neighbour if they would like to choose the party wall surveyor but turned out they felt their views wouldn’t be considered unless they had their own.  They have to be impartial anyway and ours had many years experience. So apart from paying double fees and adding even more indirectness to the whole situation, not sure if anything is gained.  Obviously no cost to neighbour so they choose whatever they want.
    i wasn't the one doing the work.  i instructed my own surveyor, i didn't trust their surveyor.
  • mug2007mug2007 Forumite
    39 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Seems like you had a similar view to our neighbours then.  I know their party wall surveyor couldn’t really answer any of their questions as they were really questions for us or our builder (external finishes ...) not party wall issues. Plus their concerns over the scaffold we needed over their property was nothing to do with the party wall in our case and a separate issue.  
  • Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.
  • AskAskAskAsk Forumite
    1.5K posts
    1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭
    mug2007 said:
    Seems like you had a similar view to our neighbours then.  I know their party wall surveyor couldn’t really answer any of their questions as they were really questions for us or our builder (external finishes ...) not party wall issues. Plus their concerns over the scaffold we needed over their property was nothing to do with the party wall in our case and a separate issue.  
    the party wall act allows me to instruct my own surveyor, so it didn't seem to be beneficial to me to use their surveyor.  i instructed my own so they work for me and not the neighbour.  i can't imagine anyone would want to use the same surveyor as there is no independence.
  • mug2007mug2007 Forumite
    39 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    “In all cases, surveyors appointed or selected under the dispute resolution procedure of the Act must consider the interests and rights of both owners and draw up an award impartially.”

    This is from the government explanatory booklet. As a surveyor must be impartial, why can’t there be one agreed surveyor?

    Understand from your stand point, why wouldn’t I choose my own since I have that option and that is one of the reasons why I call for party wall reform.

    Two impartial party wall surveyors is expensive and excessive. We shouldn’t expect hard working normal people to have to pay twice for work that can be done by one professional.
  • AskAskAskAsk Forumite
    1.5K posts
    1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭
    mug2007 said:
    “In all cases, surveyors appointed or selected under the dispute resolution procedure of the Act must consider the interests and rights of both owners and draw up an award impartially.”

    This is from the government explanatory booklet. As a surveyor must be impartial, why can’t there be one agreed surveyor?

    Understand from your stand point, why wouldn’t I choose my own since I have that option and that is one of the reasons why I call for party wall reform.

    Two impartial party wall surveyors is expensive and excessive. We shouldn’t expect hard working normal people to have to pay twice for work that can be done by one professional.
    the law may state impartial but most people would worry about this not being actual practice.  i would have been happy for the neighbour to use my surveyor, but they didn't.  so i suppose, you could always use your neighbour's surveyor?

    as the neighbour would have to pay my surveyor, it would not make any sense for me to agree to use their surveyor.

    reform of any law in the UK is nigh impossible.  and when you make a decision to carry out works, you have to factor in that it will be costly.
  • AskAskAskAsk Forumite
    1.5K posts
    1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭
    mug2007 said:
    “In all cases, surveyors appointed or selected under the dispute resolution procedure of the Act must consider the interests and rights of both owners and draw up an award impartially.”

    This is from the government explanatory booklet. As a surveyor must be impartial, why can’t there be one agreed surveyor?

    Understand from your stand point, why wouldn’t I choose my own since I have that option and that is one of the reasons why I call for party wall reform.

    Two impartial party wall surveyors is expensive and excessive. We shouldn’t expect hard working normal people to have to pay twice for work that can be done by one professional.
    the law may state impartial but most people would worry about this not being actual practice.  i would have been happy for the neighbour to use my surveyor, but they didn't.  so i suppose, you could always use your neighbour's surveyor?

    as the neighbour would have to pay my surveyor, it would not make any sense for me to agree to use their surveyor.

    reform of any law in the UK is nigh impossible.  and when you make a decision to carry out works, you have to factor in that it will be costly.
  • mug2007mug2007 Forumite
    39 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Yes totally agree, unlikely that the act will be reformed. I noticed there is currently an open petition but it is not getting many signatures https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/549730 
    I factored in the costs and paid it.  It did cause lots of stress and upset.  I just like getting value for money and this is the only part of the building project that felt like a complete rip off.  The only people having a party is the party wall surveyors as the relationship with the neighbours is now rather frosty.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Quick links

Essential Money | Who & Where are you? | Work & Benefits | Household and travel | Shopping & Freebies | About MSE | The MoneySavers Arms | Covid-19 & Coronavirus Support