Party walls – your rights as an Adjoining Owner

Why they cost what they do, and what to consider when you are comparing quotes

At Harrison Clarke – a leading firm of chartered surveyors based in Hampshire – our team of specialist Party Wall surveyors is often asked these questions and we thought you may find the answers useful too.

Key Points

  • An Adjoining Owner is anyone owning or occupying land or buildings next to the Building Owner, defined by the Party Wall Act.
  • Adjoining Owner status also depends on distances for section 6 works, mainly excavations within 3 or 6 meters of adjacent structures.
  • Dissenting from a Party Wall Notice won’t stop the Building Owner’s works; the Act aims to aid construction while protecting all parties.
  • Adjoining Owners can appoint a surveyor to resolve disputes, seek compensation for damages from notifiable works, and request protective measures.
  • Upon receiving a valid Party Wall Notice, automatic protection is granted under the Party Wall Act.
  • Respond to the Notice within 14 days; consent if the works are minor and concerns are absent.
  • For added protection, request a Photographic Schedule of Condition before the neighbor’s works begin.
  • Consulting an experienced Party Wall surveyor is recommended before deciding to dissent or consent.
  • Failing to respond lets the Building Owner appoint a surveyor on your behalf.
  • The Party Wall Act balances work facilitation and protection for all parties involved.
  • Compensation is possible for loss or damage caused by notifiable works.

Who is an Adjoining Owner defined as under the Party Wall Act? 

The Party Wall Act etc. 1996 defines an Adjoining Owner as any owner, and any occupier of land, buildings, storeys  or rooms adjoining those of the Building Owner. 

For the purposes only of section 6, an Adjoining Owner is also defined as within the distances specified in that section. In terms of section 6 works, this is in relation to excavation within three or six metres of an adjoining structure. 

Do give one of our helpful Party Wall surveyors a call to find out more about whether you are deemed to be an Adjoining Owner under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

Tip: If you are a Building Owner proposing to complete works, it is worth noting that there may be multiple Adjoining Owners for the same building, for example freehold and leasehold owners. 

I don’t want my neighbour to carry out their building works, do I have a right to stop their works?

As an Adjoining Owner, it is worth keeping in mind that the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is an enabling Act, with its main aim being to help facilitate construction works whilst ensuring all parties are appropriately protected. 

For this reason, dissenting from a Party Wall Notice will not mean that the Building Owner will not be able to carry out their works, and you cannot prevent them from making use of their rights under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. 

You might find it helpful to watch the video on our YouTube channel that details some of the common rights Building Owners have when carrying out notifiable works.

What rights do I have as an Adjoining Owner?

As an Adjoining Owner, you have the right to appoint a surveyor of your choice to resolve any dispute, should you dissent from the Party Wall Notice and request compensation for any loss or damage caused by the notifiable works. 

You should ask the Building Owner to put in place reasonable measures to ensure that your property is protected from foreseeable damage, and that you are not inconvenienced unnecessarily by the Building Owner’s works. 

You can also ask for security for expenses to protect you from potential loss if the Building Owner fails to complete their works.

How do I know that I am protected?

Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, as long as the Building Owner has served a valid Party Wall Notice on you detailing their intention to carry out notifiable works, you are automatically protected by the Act. 

We highly recommend that, if you receive a Party Wall Notice, you make sure you respond within the 14-day period. 

If your neighbour’s works are relatively minor and you have no concerns, you should consent to the notice. However, it may be worth asking your neighbour to arrange a Photographic Schedule of Condition of your property. This will provide you with additional protection should damage occur to your property, by helping to demonstrate whether damage has occurred to your building as a result of their works.

You have the right to dissent from a Party Wall Notice, though we recommend that you should first speak to an experienced Party Wall surveyor to discuss your individual circumstances. Your surveyor should be able to advise you whether consenting or dissenting is appropriate, but ultimately it is your decision

Remember, if you fail to respond to the Notice and the subsequent 10-day reminder, the Building Owner will have the right to appoint a surveyor to act on your behalf. 

How Harrison Clarke can help

If you have concerns about your neighbour’s works and how they affect your rights as an Adjoining Owner, please contact one of our experienced Party Wall surveyors.

More information

We have a range of videos talking through various surveying services, including all aspects of Party Wall matter. You can access them via our website or our YouTube channel. If your query is not covered in our videos and blogs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would be more than happy to help you.

How you can contact Harrison Clarke

Call our friendly, expert and highly qualified surveyors on 023 8155 0051, or email us at We would welcome the opportunity to help with any queries or needs you may have.

At the time of writing, we have a total of 69 reviews across Trustpilot and Google. We are proud to say that they are all 5 star ratings across the board.

Discover something you would like to know more about?

Faye Williams, party wall and building surveyor at Harrison Clarke chartered surveyors.

About the author

Faye Williams,
BSc (Hons) MFPWS Senior

Surveyor & Winner of Young Property Person of the Year 2023

Faye joined Harrison Clarke in 2018. Faye found an interest in Party Wall surveying, and became a Member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors in 2022.

Since then, Faye has set out a revolutionary approach to party wall instructions, by focusing on people and relationships, backed up by expert knowledge. Faye’s approach has saved building owners £1,000s in unnecessary party wall fees.