Who is responsible for repairs to a party wall?

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Who is responsible for repairs to a party wall?

I live in a townhouse complex where the units share a party (fire) wall but other parts extend past the shared wall. Who is responsible for repairs to the extended part that only benefits one party?

Asked on April 6, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First and foremost, party walls are usually considered a common area but you should consult any home owner's association bylaws and policies you may have. If you don't have one, then you need to understand you may need to consult an official survey on record regarding this party wall to ensure it is not indeed only on one's person's property (i..e, no mistakes in survey or conveyance). Then, if all is well with the survey, any extensions past that wall that are placed on it by one party but let's say protrude onto your property are considered encroachments and should be considered a trespass. Further, if that extension causes damage to your property, you have the right to take out (like a tree branch for example) any part that is on your property. If that extension causes damage to the wall itself, there is a good argument that one person's improvement actually compromised the integrity of the wall and though the wall is shared, it was that person's negligence that caused damages and that person should be responsible for the full repair.


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