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Party wall: what you need to know

Party wall: what you need to know



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The party walls are often subject to litigation. It is better to know the legislation before attacking your neighbor, because perhaps he is within his rights. The point on what you need to know.

What is a party wall?

According to case law, a party wall is a masonry work sealed to the ground and not a palisade, for example. It is a separation with a lasting character. It must be at least a meter high. It is located on the fringes of two properties. The legislation is defined by articles 653 to 665 of the civil code.

Who owns a party wall?

The two neighbors are both owners of the entire wall, like a condominium. However, some walls are private. For example, when at the top of the wall is an inclined or covered slate or tile, it is likely that it belongs to the neighbor on the inclined or covered side. Furthermore, if a neighbor can prove that he has maintained a wall alone for at least thirty years (thirty-year prescription), he becomes the owner of the wall in question, even if it was originally a party wall.

Can we raise a party wall or lean against a construction?

Yes, subject to local planning rules on the height of the walls. It is not compulsory to obtain the agreement of your neighbor, even if it is better to prevent it. Because if the latter considers that the elevation causes real discomfort, he can initiate an action before the court. An elevation belongs to the one who built it. It is possible to attach a construction to a party wall, but in compliance with the regulations (building permit or declaration of work depending on the nature of the building) and after obtaining the agreement of its neighbor. In the event of refusal, the person requesting the work may ask an expert to check the technical feasibility of the construction.

Who should maintain the party wall?

The two co-owners, in proportion to the volume owned by each. If a wall has been raised, the owner of this private part of the wall will be responsible for all maintenance of the elevation. And if one of the neighbors is responsible for part of the deterioration of the wall, he must assume, there too, the responsibility.

Can we renounce joint ownership?

Yes, unless you have built-on construction or are responsible for its poor condition. To renounce joint ownership, you send a registered letter to your neighbor, who then becomes the sole owner of the wall, which becomes private. Better, however, to also contact a notary to formalize things. In the same way, in the case of a private wall, it is possible to ask its neighbor to acquire the joint ownership, for example if it wishes to lean a construction there. The sale price is equal to half the value of the wall and its floor space at the time of the transaction.