Party walls are common in buildings that have multiple units. Consequently, if you are thinking about purchasing a condominium, rowhouse, townhouse or apartment, you are probably going to have at least one party wall in your new home. This is the wall that separates your place from your neighbor’s residence.
With party walls, there are usually at least two owners. For example, you are likely to own your side of the wall, while your neighbor owns his or her side. To clearly define the rights and responsibilities of each owner, many properties with party walls have existing party wall agreements.
What does a party wall agreement do?
Your party wall agreement, which is a legally binding document, may have several different components. In addition to telling you what you can and cannot do with regard to the wall, your agreement may have a provision for dealing with disputes. It even may require you to pay for certain repairs, upgrades or modifications to the wall.
Can you change a party wall agreement?
If your property has an existing party wall agreement, it probably has a clause that describes the amendment process. Often, owners who want to change their agreements must get all other owners onboard. This can be challenging, of course, as some homeowners simply prefer not to rock the boat.
How does a party wall agreement affect your due diligence?
According to Nationwide Insurance, most individuals who purchase homes go through a period of due diligence prior to closing. This is likely to be a busy time for you, as you must check for potential title issues, inspect the house and perform other tasks.
Ultimately, though, if you are purchasing a place that has one or more party walls, reviewing the party wall agreement must be part of your due diligence.