Party walls are the walls you share with your neighbours.

For an explanation of the Party Wall Act in simple terms, visit the Communities and Local Government website to download a booklet.

The booklet includes templates of letters you can use.

The Party Wall Act

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes that may arise between neighbouring owners in respect of party walls or fences and similar matters.

The Act contains provisions which relate to carrying out work on:

  • Erecting new buildings, walls or fences on the dividing line between properties or land in different ownership.
  • Carrying out repairs or other work to walls or structures on the boundary between properties.
  • Carrying out excavations within six metres of adjoining owner’s building or structure.

If you intend to carry out this type of work you are advised to ensure that your professional advisor gives you specific guidance on how to satisfy the provisions of the Act.

The basic requirements of the Act are outlined below for guidance only. It is not the intention to provide a full explanation of all the 22 sections of the Act.

New buildings, walls or fences built on the boundary with adjoining owner’s property

At least one month before the intended start date of the above work, the owner of the building carrying out the work must serve written notice (Party Structure Notice) to any adjoining owner giving a description of the type of building, wall or fence they intend to erect.

The following booklet includes a Party Structure Notice template.

If the adjoining owner does not consent to the building of the wall or fence then it must not be built (even partially) on his land.

In cases where the wall is built in line with the boundary but not over it, then there is still a requirement to serve one months notice. After the expiration of the month notice but within twelve months there is a right to place below the level of the adjoining land simple foundations to support the wall. If the foundation is reinforced, approval is required from the adjoining owner.

Compensation to adjoining owners is payable under the Act for any damage caused due to the building of the wall and its foundations.

The Act gives details on resolving disputes between building owners and adjoining owners.

Repairs to existing party walls or structures

There is a right for owners to repair (including the insertion of a new damp proof course) and even demolish and rebuild defective party walls or structures.

Before exercising this right the building owner must serve a ‘party structure notice’ giving their name and address, details of the proposed work and the proposed date when the work will commence.

The ‘party structure notice’ must be served at least two months before the date on which the proposed work will start.

The adjoining building owner may, within one month, serve a counter notice describing works to be carried out which may be reasonably required to either the wall or its foundation.


If approval of the adjoining owner is not received or agreement with a counter notice not reached within fourteen days beginning from the day on which the party structure notice or counter notice was served then it is deemed that there is dispute between the owners and the Act gives details on resolving such disputes.

Dangerous or neglected structures

Where a notice is served by the Local Authority relating to dangerous or neglected structures, a building owner is not required to serve a party structure notice.

Adjacent excavations

If your proposed excavation is within three metres of an adjoining owner’s structure and the excavation will be at a lower level than the bottom of the adjoining structure’s foundation then a notice similar to the ‘party wall notice’ must be served. Where the proposed excavation is more than three metres but less than six metres from an adjoining structure the same requirements for the services of notice apply if the proposed excavation is within 45 degrees of the existing constructions foundations (see diagram overleaf).

Loss or damage

A building owner, in having work carried out within the scope of this Act, is liable to compensate any adjoining owner and occupier for loss or damage and provide protection and security for the adjoining occupier.