The Party Wall etc Act 1996

This Act provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions in the way set down in the Act. Adjoining owners can agree or disagree with what is proposed. Where they disagree, the Act provides a mechanism for resolving disputes.

The Act is separate from obtaining planning permission or building regulations approval.

What is a party wall?

The main types of party walls are:

  • a wall that stands on the lands of 2 (or more) owners and forms part of a building - this wall can be part of one building only or separate buildings belonging to different owners
  • a wall that stands on the lands of 2 owners but does not form part of a building, such as a garden wall but not including timber fences
  • a wall that is on one owner's land but is used by 2 (or more) owners to separate their buildings

The Act also uses the expression 'party structure'. This could be a wall or floor partition or other structure separating buildings or parts of buildings in different ownership, such as in flats.

What the Act covers

The Act covers:

  • new building on or at the boundary of 2 properties
  • work to an existing party wall or party structure
  • excavation near to and below the foundation level of neighbouring buildings

This may include:

  • building a new wall on or at the boundary of 2 properties
  • cutting into a party wall
  • making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper
  • removing chimney breasts from a party wall
  • knocking down and rebuilding a party wall
  • digging below the foundation level of a neighbour's property

Explanatory booklet

This provides detailed guidance on the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. The guidance explains how the Act may affect a building owner who wishes to carry out work covered by the Act or an adjoining building owner who receives notification under the Act of proposed work.

The guidance has been further updated in May 2016 to take account of amendments to the Act to allow the electronic transmission of notices and other documents, required under the Act, where both the giver and receiver of the notices and documents agree.

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 explanatory bookletThe Party Wall etc Act 1996: explanatory booklet

PDF file: 1.01MB, 55 pages

Example letters

Templates for the example letters in Part 5 of the guidance are available to download.

Download Example letter 1: Party structure notice from The Party Wall etc Act 1996 explanatory bookletExample letter 1: Party structure notice

MS Word Document: 350KB

Download Example letter 2: Positive acknowledgement of party structure notice from The Party Wall etc Act 1996 explanatory bookletExample letter 2: Positive acknowledgement of party structure notice

MS Word Document: 35KB

Download Example letter 3: Negative acknowledgement of party structure notice from The Party Wall etc Act 1996 explanatory bookletExample letter 3: Negative acknowledgement of party structure notice

MS Word Document: 36KB

Download Example letter 4: Line of junction notice - new wall astride the boundary from The Party Wall etc Act 1996 explanatory bookletExample letter 4: Line of junction notice - new wall astride the boundary

MS Word Document: 36KB

Download Example letter 5: Acknowledgement of line of junction notice - new wall astride the boundary from The Party Wall etc Act 1996 explanatory bookletExample letter 5: Acknowledgement of line of junction notice - new wall astride the boundary

MS Word Document: 35KB

Download Example letter 6: Line of junction notice - new wall wholly on your own land from The Party Wall etc Act 1996 explanatory bookletExample letter 6: Line of junction notice - new wall wholly on your own land

MS Word Document: 35KB

Download Example letter 7: Acknowledgement of line of junction notice - new wall wholly on your own land from The Party Wall etc Act 1996 explanatory bookletExample letter 7: Acknowledgement of line of junction notice - new wall wholly on your own land

MS Word Document: 280KB

Download Example letter 8: 3/6 metre notice from The Party Wall etc Act 1996 explanatory bookletExample letter 8: 3/6 metre notice

MS Word Document: 36KB

Download Example letter 9: Positive acknowledgement of 3/6 metre notice from The Party Wall etc Act 1996 explanatory bookletExample letter 9: Positive acknowledgement of 3/6 metre notice

MS Word Document: 34KB

Download Example letter 10: Negative acknowledgement of 3/6 metre notice from The Party Wall etc Act 1996 explanatory bookletExample letter 10: Negative acknowledgement of 3/6 metre notice

MS Word Document: 35KB