In California, a “party wall” refers to a shared wall or structure that divides two adjoining properties, typically in the context of townhouses, condominiums or other multi-unit residential buildings. This wall, which is often constructed along the property line, provides both support and separation for the neighboring units.
Both property owners have rights and responsibilities related to the party wall. You and your neighbor share the duty to maintain the wall, and any necessary repairs or maintenance should be mutually agreed upon and split between both parties.
Party Wall Agreements
A party wall agreement, which may be included in the property’s deed or established separately, outlines the rules and responsibilities for both owners regarding the shared wall. This agreement can address issues like maintenance, repairs and costs associated with the wall. It’s crucial to review and understand the party wall agreement before making any changes to the shared structure.
Alterations And Improvements
If you want to make alterations or improvements to the party wall, such as installing a new door or window, you’ll need to get written consent from your neighbor. Be aware that changes to the shared structure could affect the structural integrity, fire safety or soundproofing of both properties.
Disputes over party walls can arise for various reasons, such as disagreements about repair costs, alterations or maintenance responsibilities. If you encounter a dispute, it’s best to try resolving the issue amicably through discussion and negotiation. However, if the dispute remains unresolved, you may need to take legal action.
Understanding your rights and responsibilities as a property owner with a party wall is crucial to maintaining a positive relationship with your neighbor and ensuring the shared structure remains in good condition.