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  • Refurbish/Develop

    HMO Party wall agreement

    I am looking to convert the loft in a mid terrace in order to add rooms in the loft.  We need our neighbor to sign party wall agreement.  However, 1 side of neighbor has tenants (single let) living in it and never answer their door.  I have no way to talk to the owner.  Even if I go to land registry to locate the owner, what if they never respond to my letter? I am running against time. What can I do about it?  Has anyone had this experience before or any expert here to share their knowledge?

    Also, is there a time limit we can put and we can go ahead without a response?

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    Hi Yaz. 

    Yes, there is a set time limit in which the neighbors can lodge a response to your request. 

    It’s not straightforward however and the best way to proceed is always with the express consent of all parties. It can become very difficult very quickly if you don’t have these permissions or the right paperwork in place. 

    You can find out everything you need to know by checking the government advice online:

    https://www.gov.uk/party-walls-building-works

    You can also speak informally to a party wall surveyor but choose who you approach carefully. They are trying to sell you a service after all. 

    The most important thing to remember is that any surveyor is not acting on your behalf. They are acting in the best interests of the wall. This sounds a bit weird but means they don’t have to “answer to” the homeowners. 

    It would be worth working really hard now to try and engage the neighbours and locating the owners. With their agreement it can happen quickly and smoothly IF they agree to allow one surveyor to act for all parties. If they don’t consent to this you will have to pay for their own choice of surveyor. This means you might have to pay for 3 surveys and if they can’t agree of everything then maybe even a 4th to look at their work and arbitrate. It can seem very, very unfair but to do it right is the best. It might cost you 3k now but it’s better than your neighbours claiming £20k for damage to their property later on (that maybe wasn’t even as a result of your work)

    It’s a minefield but the rules are strict and there to protect all parties as fairly as possible and to prevent it ever reaching court. 

    I know people who have ignored the need for one and got away with it. I know people who have ignored it and got into real trouble.  I know others who have had a PWA and it all went beautifully and others who had one and there were still problems.

    All you can do is make a choice and go with it but if you want my 2 pennys worth I’d say cover your ass. Make sure you have the right paperwork and legal right to proceed with the work.
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    there is a legal obligation to serve notice on the adjoining OWNER/S

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    Thanks JOE.

    Please appraise the following excerpt from my text;

    “It would be worth working really hard now to try and engage the neighbours and locating the owners”


    Got it covered.  ?
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    Odd. Why is winking smiley appearing as a question mark in the text? Kind of loses it impact that way.....
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    yes I read what you posted (obviously).

    whilst your post is pretty comprehensive, I elaborated that it is a legal requirement to serve a notice on the adjoining owner/s at the address registered at lr!

    that is much more informative than what you said in my opinion, so I dont think it was '...covered'.

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    You may also wish to bear in mind the position of any freeholder as compared to leaseholders. If there is a freeholder then you need to deal with them and they usually act on behalf of the leaseholders anyway. You need to know who understands the property, the form of ownership and who is affected by the party wall award. 


    Party wall surveyors are specialists in their field and for the sake of a lot of potential issues and even savings I would thoroughly recommend that you use one.


    Good luck

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    Jo Ryan

    Koru Property Strategies

    07887691666

    jo@korupropertystrategies.com


    I dont think this was a reply to my post, but anyways that is why I stated:

    adjoining 'OWNER/S'

    BTW ​in my experience freeholders dont usually act on behalf of leaseholders; they are entitled to separate appointments.  

    IMO there are quite a few shark party wall surveyors out there (usually the ones who advertise heavily).

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    Noted Joe. The reason I mentioned freeholders/leaseholders as compared to owner/s is that often people don’t realise  the freehold can be owned by someone not obviously connected to the property. 

    Recently I was involved in a party wall agreement where the neighbouring freeholder managed the process on behalf of the neighbouring leaseholders. Made it easier for all involved and might be food for thought.
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    Jo Ryan

    Koru Property Strategies

    07887691666

    jo@korupropertystrategies.com