What is a party structure?
A party structure is the term used to describe the wall, hedge, fencing, or building which is on, or close to, the boundary between two properties. It is essentially the structure which creates the physical division between two properties.
A party wall/structure may be either on your neighbour’s property or on the boundary which divides the two properties.
It is generally the case that the adjoining property owners jointly own the party structure and neither of them can make a unilateral decision to significantly alter or remove the party structure.
Party structures have been problematic in the past, particularly so when it came to the maintenance and the carrying out of repairs to them so the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 addressed and sought to clarify the law in relation to party structures.
The law entitles a person to carry out work to the party structures including for example alterations, repairs and maintenance, decoration, replacement and strengthening.
Podcast: Party Walls
If I am the person who wants the works to be carried out are there any conditions?
If you cause damage to your neighbour’s property whilecarrying out work to the party structure, you must repair the damage or pay for the cost of the repair work carried out by your neighbour. If a property owner carries out work to the party wall and fails to repair any damage to his neighbour’s property the law allows the neighbour to apply to the court for an order to compel the damage to be fixed.
You must cover the costs of professional advice sought by your neighbour regarding the likely consequences of the works you intend to carry out and reasonable compensation for the inconvenience caused to your neighbour. Compensation might be relevant if the works to the party wall or structure cause disruption to the neighbour’s business.
Do I still have to pay compensation if the works I am carrying out will benefit my adjoining neighbour/owner?
If the works you are going to carry out will be of benefit to your neighbour you may be able to claim a contribution from them or reduce the amount of compensation payable to them to reflect the benefit s/he will gain in the enjoyment of his property because of the carrying out of the works.
What happens if my neighbor refuses to allow the work to be carried out?
A neighbour might refuse to allow works to be carried out or obstruct the carrying out of works to the party structure. Prior to the 2009 Act a situation like this might well have escalated into a long and protracted row between two neighbours but the Act has introduced a procedure that can be activated through the District Court which lets the judge decide upon the situation.
What is a “Works Order”?
“The Works Order”
If a dispute arises now between neighbours, in relation to a party structure by virtue of the 2009 Act, the person who wants to carry out the work can apply to the District Court for what is known as a “Works Order”, or in other words, permission to go ahead with the work.
In these circumstances the court can impose any terms and conditions that it sees fit when making an order authorising the work – the Court will take into account the individual circumstances of each case.
To protect the neighbour whose property will be affected by the carrying out of the work the property owner may be required by the Court to give security for any loss or damage that might arise as a result of the work. This could take the form of a lodgment of money which will pay for any damage caused to the neighbour’s property.
The Court can make an order entitling the property owner who intends to carry out the work access to his neighbour’s property for the purposes of carrying out the work.
The provisions in the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 pave the way for a more straightforward and streamlined mechanism for dealing with party structures, it is still important to bear in mind that the best way to approach any changes to party walls/structures with your neighbours is to discuss the changes first and to aim to carry out any works with their understanding and consent.
I live in a mid terrace house for 8 years. Owner of the next house, next door does not live here and it is difficult to contact him. Tenants also had not the landlord phone number. Behind the house I added to an existing fence 6 blocks in a line where there were already 4 blocks. The owner of next property is unhappy. I did not have the opportunity to ask him since a year and now he wants to refer the matter to his silicitors. What should I do ?
Thank you in advane for you help.
Talk to your neighbour to see if you can reach agreement with him. If that fails, check to ensure that you are not in breach of planning and that it is not a party wall. If it is a party wall, you would usually require his agreement.
For the attention of Ms. Joanne Fennessey
I would appreciate your assistance with the following query.
My neighbour is building a room over his garage and he requires my permission to build over the ‘party wall’ adjoining both houses. I am amenable to consent to this and have informed him that he can put a window at the side of this room as long as this window is removed when we subsequently build a room over our garage(i.e. Both garages adjoin, or are beside each other). What legal document can be drawn up where both me and my neighbour consent to this arrangement? I presume that it should be witnessed?
A simply worded agreement should be signed and witnessed by both parties
I live in a semi-detached house, the fence separating the gardens needs replacing, the neighbour is stating that it is a shared fence and that repairs will be 50/50.
The conveyance deed reads the following, ‘The wall and fence on the east side of the property here by conveyed shall be a party structure and maintained and kept in repair accordingly’
However when looking at the Plan view of of my property the T marks are on the other boundary (west).
Thank you in advance for you help.
Without sight of the documents – I would say that it is a party wall with repairs shared 50/50.
Our party wall was badly damaged in the storms. It was 2m in height and 4 inch thick blocks. My husband was advised by 5 builders and the insurance company to take the wall down to make it safe. This was agreed with the neighbour. Now she is refusing to answer and phone calls or messages to get the wall fixed even though she made a claim with her insurance company for half the costs. Where do we stand now? How can I get the wall fixed?
There is a procedure available in your local district court that will mean that you can carry out the work with court approval.
We have full planning permission to build a house on a site in the back garden of an existing house in Dublin. Running alongside the new house would be the existing garden party wall. The engineers is suggesting that we must underpin this wall prior to putting down foundations for the new house. We proposed the work to the neighbour such that the wall would remain standing and be maintained at all times and stressed that there would be no impact to their side of the wall or garden. Our neighbour has refused to agree to the work being performed and we are now at an impasse.
Is this something that you have had experience of in the past? What course of action would you recommend?
This would seem to be an application that should be made to the local District Court for an order entitling you to carry out the works. Did the neighbour object to the planning application?
Thanks for your reply. I didn’t notice it at the time but to respond I have proceeded with the build without underpinning the wall. The neighbour did not object to the planning application.
I did look into getting a works order as you suggested but was told it was unnecessarily expensive and took a considerable length of time; so we proceeded with a plan that should have allowed us to build and protect the wall.
Unfortunately the wall has been damaged in the build by my builder and for safety reasons a portion has been taken down. I understand my obligations are to repair this wall back to its prior standard at a minimum, in a reasonable period of time, and compensate my neighbour for any reasonable costs incurred by him during the process.
Relations with my neighbour are understandably strained.
What constitutes a reasonable time frame under the 2009 Act or from your experience? If we wait 3 weeks the build will be substantially complete and the wall can be repaired without any risk of further damage. If, as he requests, we repair the wall as soon as possible we risk further damaging the wall during the build.
Furthermore he may demand that we cease all building activity until this repair has been made. I understand that legally I am not obliged to do so. Would you be able to comment on this also?
Appreciate your time regarding this matter. I have found your website to be the most informative around on the issue of part walls.
This is probably not a legal question as such. If I was to give an opinion, I would suggest that you ensure that the section that is damaged be secured, proceed post haste but write to the neighbour to formally put your proposals on record.
We live in a semi detached house in an estate. The neighbour whose house is attached to ours is my brother in law. We have begun building a small one room extension off our house. My brother in law has agreed verbally that we can build one wall of this room, right along the boundary between our two properties. Is this verbal agreement enough? I am a little confused/concerned having read a little about party walls.
Thanks in advance
There should be no reason to do anything more if he has agreed.
I live in a mid 1940’s semi where the walls are all concrete. A contractor has doing work next door and is jack hammering internal walls and taking down a chimney. It has been going on for days and we do not know if there are works directly to the party wall but the noise and vibration is very bad – we have videos of it. The builder will not engage with us. We have noticed small horizontal hairline cracks on the party wall. We asked the builder if they wanted to do a photo survey but as i said they wont engage. They are taking alot of rubble out of the old house and they have not done an asbestos survey either.
What, if any, are our options here? if they ignore us are we just powerless to act?
I would appreciate your thoughts as i’m not sure what i can do.
As a quick response with all the facts, I would suggest that you retain an engineer to look at the party wall, you can make a noise complaint and you might also consider suing for nuisance .
Issues with neighbour and rear garden wall – this is a stone wall waist high approx. -Can I raise the height of this wall to give me privacy and security and to prevent further hassle from the neighbour ? Do I have to consult with the neighbour? Is he obliged to pay half the cost . Nb continuation of this wall boarding my side neighbours rear garden is going to be raised by the neighbour who has not approached me as we are in dispute – any help with this welcome
There seems to be a few issues here.
You should be able to raise the height of the wall with the neighbour agreement . If you can get the agreement , you can apply to the District Court for an order.
If you don’t go for an order you run the risk of the neighbour taking action to stop you – which may be a time consuming albeit ultimately fruitless exercise for them.
In theory on a party wall the cost should be shared !
You could build a wall inside the party wall without the consent of the neighbour.
In addition to the neighbour issue , you would need to make sure that you are within in planning exemption height criteria for boundary walls- usually 2 meters to rear or side of a dwelling.
Does the District Court to deal all application for Works Orders relating to Boundary issues or must the application be made to a higher court if the costs of the actual work/maintenance exceeds a certain limit. ?
Are there any application or court costs involved when applying for the Works Order, apart from the solicitor’s professional fees ?
The District Court is the Court specified under the relevant legislation to deal with works orders.the other costs , other than solicitor costs , will be the various experts required to prove the extent and cost of the works.
a) stone wall at rear of garden waist high
b) this wall continues to my neighbours on left of me and further houses
c) this wall was the rear boundary for my neighbour on my right and the neighbours at the right hand side of them but the neighbours who live at the bottom of my garden knocked down the stone wall in my adjoining neighbours without their permission and rebuilt a block built wall which last summer they raised further
d) I have been advised this wall cannot be built on and I don’t want it taken down
f) There are ongoing issues with this neighbour – he when I had conifers my side of the wall – tagged outdoor electrical wiring low down on my side and which I took down the trees he started bullying me
g ) I have been approached by this neighbour today asking to continue with the block wall which he put up – I have said no – and advised I have no issue with him building a block wall his side of this stone wall
H) he is not happy with this –
Where can I go from here –
Can he build on top of the wall or knock it down ? and rebuild a new wall
Hi original stone wall at rear of garden – my query is similar to the one above from Anne – this stone wall continues with my neighbour on my left side – the neighbour at rear took down the continuation of this wall with my neighbour on the right side of me – without their consent and left a mess which we both had to clean this summer difficult as we are both not well – I am in dispute with the neighbour at the rear – who has approached me yesterday to continue with the wall as per neighbours wall on my right – which is now a block cavity wall – I have advised the neighbour at the rear of me that I have no objection to them building on their side , that the stone wall would not support being raised – I have got advise on this and that I do not want the stone wall to go . I have also been advised not to put up a fence or a wall my side as there would be a gap and the rear neighbour would use the ledge of the existing stone wall for storage and this gap would be become a breeding ground considering what he puts up on the ledges behind the other neighbours – this is already happening with the neighbours on the left as they put up fencing their side and the rear neighbour has stacked firewood and even let off fireworks highly dangerous I can see what the neighbour in the rear is doing behind all the other walls and fences currently – Due to ongoing issues with this neighbour and the angle at which the neighbours wall is I would be afraid I would loose part of my garden and given that the neighbour who wants to build wont even cap the neighbours wall which he raised only this summer I don’t want him to build the wall – Can this neighbour touch this stone wall with out my permission , This neighbour has had building work stopped over in his garden 20 years ago by others and left idle and this summer they completed the building – I objected to it on the basis that every one who lives in it is in full view of me each time they enter this building – this neighbour left electrical wiring tagged down low on my side of the stone wall years ago when I had conifers for privacy – which I couldn’t maintain – This was highly dangerous and cheeky – anyone working on these trees could have been electrocuted and he was dumping rubbish behind them – on taking out the trees the wiring was discovered and he kept leaving it on the wall along with his filthy mats food particles , plastic piping broken items , etc etc This was also the time when me and the neighbour to my right hand side realised the extent of what the neighbour at the rear had doing as 4 of the conifers were at the side with me and the right neighbour so you can see why I wont allow him to knock the wall and rebuild it – He is continuing to verbally me and called the police because I didn’t agree to his plans – I have been advised I will be getting legal papers from them by the police , I have been told I am going to be blocked soon – what are my options to prevent this neighbour from destroying the wall and building another in its place or building on top of the wall ? –
There is a large commercial high wall structure which is a party wall to my house My house was built in the 1908s with correct planning and over one third of my flat roof extension is attached to the adjoining wall. There have been plans to taken down the commercial wall since 2006 but with delays in permissions, banks taking over the building etc there is now a new developer who tells me he was to demolish the wall and rebuild it to new regulations – thus one third of my flat extension to include my bedroom will have to be demolished thus making the remainder of my extension ie kitchen and bathroom – have to be demolished also. I have been unable to make any changes (structural or otherwise) to my extension since 2006 for fear of it being torn down eventually. The developer says he will do a party wall agreement with me but does this mean he will have to rebuild my kitchen bedroom and bathroom??? What is the least good scenario and best scenario I can expect from this please
Based on what you are telling me , I would look for the party wall agreement to cover the re-instatement of the extension.
Two years ago, my neighbour carried out building works and their builder destroyed the boundary/party wall. He claimed legally I could do nothing and that my ivy had pulled the wall down when his builder cut back trees on their side. This wasn’t the case although the wall was old. He also claimed they couldn’t afford to pay anything towards the wall. It is clear 2 yrs on that they clearly just didn’t want to, they have spent on lots of incidentals. They planted shrubs to appease another neighbour who looks faces us directly. I decided it wasn’t worth deling with them they are and just got on with it and put up a fence. I am annoyed though and feel like they should have replaced the wall they damaged. We have no relationship as neighbours. Is there a case 2 yrs on to do something about it?? (I have photos)
I would have to know a bit more, but based on what you have commented , you would seem to be within time. On the substantive it would seem that they ought to have an obligation to re-instate.
my neighbour built a one storey extension to the rear of her mid terraced house. The builder placed the toilet waste pipe on top of a portion of the party wall between her house and mine. It looks unsightly, and am wondering if this is in breach of planning/building regulations. Michael
That is a question for an engineer or Town Planner. If its on the party wall and it is a party wall , they should have looked for your consent.
Need your advice. I Live in a 3 bed semi. There is a wall dividing my neighbours driveway and mine. Neighbour insists she owns wall even tho it starts on my property (from its startng position at front of my house, its not half way between both houses). It’s Been there over 15 years. Can she prevent me from painting my side of the wall?
Not sure why they might want to stop you painting your side of the wall ! If its a party wall you can paint it. If its not you need their consent.I would need to know a bit more history and paperwork to try to determine whether or not it is a party wall. A key element is where the boundary is between the properties.
My deeds say that front boundaries belong to property and all others are party..For the wall, It Starts between both the houses front doors and partitions both our driveway. There isn’t an option here to show you a picture. Could you share an email address that we could chat?
Good evening. I have a few questions about some of my neighbouurs activity which have caused us concern.
1. What is the minimum distance between two detached houses in Dublin?. Our house ( main house) is the boundary wall and they built their house in the side garden ( all done before we bought it and when the main house was unoccupied). The space between the two houses is 2ft 7 inchs. It feels like it’s on top of us.
2. He has built a bike shed using our house and his house as the main structure. He didn’t drill, just hammered and wedged in an oversized roof between the houses with wooden stakes at both ends. ( he nearly cracked our plaster with the banging).. is he entitled to do that without permission?
3. What parking rights do we have to the public road directly outside our house. He parks his car there permanently. It’s a narrow road and at a bend. When a car is parked across the road, we are then blocked from turning out to the left and have to leave the estate using a different route. He has space along the side of his house but he claims he doesn’t like the spot because he can’t see his car clearly.
I would appreciate your advice. Thanks
Lisa, it very difficult to answer such specific questions without discussing it with you and having a look at your documents. Here are a few comments: – 1. There is no minimum distance from a legal standpoint. They would ordinarily be entitled to build inside their boundary. If it was built before you purchased there is little you can do . 2. Building using your structure is a different matter. Normally this would not be permissible without your consent. 3. Parking rights on a public road is usually governed by the local authority by-laws. This is something you should take up with them.
Hi John. There is a waist high wall between my neighbour and us. It looks to be directly half and half of the property. The other day he came out and put grease on my side of the cappings. I have children,and other children from the road play in my garden with mine. Had one of them slipped,he would have been responsible for it. I have cctv that shows him putting the grease on just my side. What action if any can I take against him. Is it legal what he did?
Sounds like not a nice neighbour!! If it is your side of the wall , then it is technically an action of trespass which is actionable.
We built a detached house, in the garden, at the end of a terrace (urban area). Our house and our Neighbour’s house are separated by a side entrance, access belonging to our Neighbour and on their side. The end terrace is currently owned by a family member and therefore we currently can gain access for repair works on our house, if they are required. Utility/ landing and downstairs bathroom window (frosted) overlook this side entrance- our gas boiler, and therefore flue, are on this side of the house also.
My question is, when the time comes for this house to be sold (end terrace)what can we put in place beforehand to secure access for repair works, if required?
Quick answer without looking for further details : an application can usually be made to the District Court for a works order to carry out works via an neighbouring property , should the neighbour not agree to allow access.
There is high shrubs in patches behind a wooden fence separating our bungalow (both on our side of boundary concrete polls) with the dormer house next door (there is no one living in this house, it is up for sale) they have cleared all shrubs and grass etc from there side so now there is less privacy. Can we build a wall so there is no view to our house from there high gable window?
You can build a wall on your side of the boundary upto to a height of 2 meters – if higher, you will need planning permission.
We are trying to get a boundary wall built but are in discussions on who is to pay for the wall , the wall in our neighbors boundary to our property , Is the cost of the wall to be there cost ? Or is it a cost to be split 50/50 even though it’s there boundary ?
If is a boundary wall that straddles both of your properties – then it is usually 50/50.
If it is boundary wall that is on your land – you pay for it .
If it is on your neigbour’s land – they pay for it.
The problem is often finding out which it is .
Hi.. I bought an ex-corporation mid-terrace house in 2013. My house has a small extension to the rear, and my neighbours on both sides also have extensions.
One neighbour’s extension is over the boundary line by about 1ft and adjoins my extension, and it appears to be a make-shift structure (I’m not an architect but I think my extension is supporting this structure). Also, this neighbour’s gutter to the front of their property is flooding onto my property when it rains and has damaged the electrics of my car. I have asked these neighbours to repair the gutter to prevent any further damages and they basically told me to eff-off.
The other side has a shed like kitchen/bathroom extension built on the dividing wall (party wall) – it looks like the wall under the flashing is a sheet of wood. This neighbour has a camera over her back door (with an adjacent mirror) that is basically pointing into my property rather than her own property (and the mirror facilitates videoing into my home).
Have I any rights?
There are a number of issues raised and I will do the best I can with them . You should get an engineer to have a look at the boundary to see if there is encroachment. If there is , you can decide what you want or can do about it . There is a procedure in the District Court whereby you can get an order to carry out works on boundaries. The mirror is a privacy issue which is less clear as to how you can handle it. You may need to threaten litigation to force some action.