Just another brick in the wall? How to agree compensation when your neighbour damages the Party Wall.
Works undertaken to or in the vicinity of party walls carry with them an inherent risk of damage to the Adjoining Owner’s property.
While the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (‘the Act’) makes specific provision for compensation to be paid by the person undertaking the work to the Adjoining Owner in respect of damage caused by “any work executed in pursuance of” the Act, disputes may arise over the extent of compensation.
Party wall surveyors often put forward the argument that there should be a discount applied to the cost of repairs claimed by the Adjoining Owner on the basis of “betterment”, that is, that the Adjoining Owner’s property would be in a better state of repair and/or decoration after the remedial works than it was prior to the work causing damage; consequently the Adjoining Owner should not receive the full cost of these works.
Authoritative legal case law makes it absolutely clear that there is no legal basis for reducing the compensation in such cases.
If, in carrying out repairs to remedy the damage caused by the builder’s works, the Adjoining Owner’s property is put into a better state of repair than it was prior to the works commencing, that is just good fortune on the part of the Adjoining Owner. However, each case depends on its own facts and therefore the surveyors appointed under the Party Wall Award (colloquially sometimes called a party wall agreement) must determine the question in each case.
For further advice, contact the Party Wall department at Woodward Chartered Surveyors on 01923 920950. We are members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and the RICS.