What rights do you have to a party wall?

A party wall usually is on the dividing line between two adjacent properties and used for the common advantage of both property owners. In the most common scenario, part of the wall on each property is owned by the owner of each property respectively, with an easement granted to the other adjoining owner for support. The question is what rights, you as the owner of the property have to the party wall, and what you can do to it. The right is to use it for support and to maintain the wall itself. Further you must to be in compliance with common law and the particular rules of the town wherein the property lies, to ensure the structural integrity and use of the wall by the adjoining owner is not impaired under the easement. Therefore if, as the new owner, you want to demolish the structure that is being supported by the party wall, you must make sure that by doing so you are not affecting the structural integrity of the adjoining structure or being negligent in undertaking your demolition.

The party wall can be an important consideration in a densely populated area like NYC where the properties are constructed close to each other. The buyer must be aware of such party walls especially if the new owner has plans of expansion or demolition. Therefore when you retain an attorney, make sure you inform the attorney of your potential plans with the property. Your attorney should conduct due diligence on this issue for you and determine what potential issues could arise in your particular case and effectively guide you through them.

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