Property damage & party walls

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If a neighbour damages your home or there's work on a party wall

If a neighbour is responsible for damage to your home, you’ll want to make sure they fix it fast. Maybe their tree has fallen and crushed your fence. Or perhaps water leaking from their pipes is dripping through your ceiling. As for party walls, there are strict legal procedures that must be followed. But if you’ve had a party wall notice, how can you be sure your neighbour is living up to their obligations? Or, if you’re planning the work, are you clear on your responsibilities?

Talking is a good place to start

Talk to your neighbour as soon as you notice the damage, or it could get worse and the repair bill more expensive. But whether a neighbour who accidentally damages your home is liable from a legal or insurance provider’s point of view depends on the situation.

The Party Wall Act 1996 sets out the procedures to follow when building work affects a party wall. The Act is there to help resolve disputes, check that the work is completed safely and legally, and make sure the structural stability of your property isn’t affected. But your neighbour might not be aware of this Act or their obligations under it.  

How we can help

If a neighbour damages your property, we can explain your rights and how you can prove liability. We can also guide you through what steps to take to get the damage fixed. If your property damage is due to bad weather – a gale brought your neighbour’s tree down, for instance – we can help you work out who should pay for repairs. When it comes to party walls, we can advise you if the Party Wall Act needs to be followed. If it does, we’ll help you understand your obligations if you’re planning the work, and your neighbour’s obligations if they are. We’ll:

  • listen to what the situation is and explain your rights and obligations
  • give you clear guidance on your options if your neighbour doesn’t accept liability or follow the Party Wall Act
  • advise you on next steps
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Meet your experts
Adrian Schwab Sq Adrian Schwab Adrian joined Which? Legal in June 2017 as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. Adrian received his Bachelor in Law degree from the Holborn Law School in 2006.
Catherine Hudson 360X360 Catherine Hudson Catherine is an expert in landlord and tenant law, having worked for a housing charity as a Caseworker for 15 years. See profile
Lawyer Profile Picture 360 360 Sophie Jones Sophie joined Which? in June 2015 specialising in landlord and tenancy as well as other areas. See profile
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