Condominiums, rowhomes and other residential buildings are commonplace in Naples and across Florida. While these dwellings are ideal for many homeowners, they often share walls with others. A party wall is a common wall between two separately owned or rented residences.
Party walls make good neighbors. After all, these walls may serve as structural support for the building, sound barriers, fire blockades or merely aesthetic separations. Regardless, if you intend to buy a property with one or more party walls, you are likely to encounter at least one party wall agreement.
What is a party wall agreement?
The party wall agreement outlines each owner’s rights and responsibilities for the party wall. Often, these agreements require owners to maintain and repair party walls. They may also include provisions for resolving party wall disputes.
Do you have to comply with a party wall agreement?
Even though you may have found a great place, you may not love the existing configuration of your new home. If you want to renovate, you should review the party wall agreement. Put simply, because the agreement is a legally binding contract, you probably cannot violate its terms.
Can you modify a party wall agreement?
If your party wall agreement is onerous or does not meet your needs, you may be able to negotiate a new one. Your options, though, may depend on the nature of your building. If you are in a condominium, for example, you may have to secure buy-in from the condo board and other condo owners.
The existence of party walls and party wall agreements should probably not dissuade you from purchasing a residence with one. Ultimately, reviewing the party wall agreement and inspecting party walls before closing are major parts of your due diligence.