The Party Wall Act Is Instigated By The Serving Of Notices. If A Dispute Arises Then Both Parties Must Appoint A Surveyor. The Question We Are Asked Most Often Is:
Who Pays For A Party Wall Surveyor?
It is the responsibility of the building owner (the person carrying out the work) to serve notice on the adjoining owners prior to works taking place.
The adjoining owners then have three responses available to them:
- Provide consent to the works (no further action necessary)
- Dissent to the works (a dispute arises and surveyors are appointed on both sides)
- Provide no response at all (in which case a deemed dissent arises, and a surveyor is appointed on behalf of the adjoining owner).In option 1, no surveyors fees are incurred and works can commence as soon as the notice period has run.In options 2 & 3, surveyors are appointed to resolve the dispute and serve an award. Their input will incur fees – often in excess of four figures.So, who is responsible for paying those fees?
If the building owner feels the fees are not reasonable, there is a right to refer the matter to the Third Surveyor or appeal the award in the County Court (within 14 days of the award being served).
It is usually best to discuss fees with your surveyor in the first instance as they should be able to provide their timesheets as well as the timesheets for the other surveyor.
If surveyors are able to demonstrate their fees as reasonable then an appeal or Third Surveyor is unlikely to be successful.
As a general rule, it is the person “desirous of carrying out the work” that will be liable for the fees, so usually the building owner.
The adjoining owner may become liable for fees in the following circumstances:
- If they are asking the building owner to carry out work over and above what they intended to (ie: to build a party wall higher or out of different materials)
- If they instruct their party wall surveyor on matters outside of the party wall act. The building owner is only liable for the surveyors fees within their remit as a party wall surveyor and in direct relation to the building owners works
- If they (or their surveyor) refers a matter to the Third Surveyor and the Third Surveyor finds in favour of the building owner. The Third Surveyor will apportion costs as they see reasonable – usually to the party they find against. If the Third Surveyor determines against the adjoining owners then they are likely to apportion their fees and any other associated costs to the adjoining owners.
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