Whose wall is it anyway?  

Exploring who’s responsible for insuring boundary walls 

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2 May 2023

Boundary walls and fences identify the dividing line between two properties, or the dividing line between private property and common areas. This makes it indisputably clear whose property is within a wall. But, what about the ownership of the wall itself?  


 Wall disputes can be common within housing estates because the laws relating to insuring walls are fairly nuanced. But knowing the ins and outs of the legislation can help you to manage disputes fairly and factually.  

When is a broken boundary wall the homeowner’s responsibility? 

Homeowners are typically responsible for their boundary walls when the estate is a freehold property. This means that if something happens to a boundary wall, the homeowner will have to claim from their insurer.  

 

When you share a wall with your neighbour on a freehold property, who’s responsible for it? 

If a tree falls on the wall that separates your neighbour’s home from yours, it might seem unclear as to who’s responsible for the home insurance claim.  

The law defines the scope of responsibility in one of two ways. Both neighbours are either seen to have joint ownership of the wall, or to own a portion of the wall. In the case of joint ownership, the responsibility is shared equally. But in the case of each neighbour owning a portion of the wall, the responsibility depends on whose portion of the wall was affected.  

 

When is a broken wall the Homeowners’ Association’s responsibility? 

The outer walls of the estate are the responsibility of the Homeowners’ Association. They’re also responsible for the walls surrounding communal areas.  

So, if a car drives into the outer wall of your estate, you can leave it up to your body corporate to claim from insurance. And if you notice that the shared tennis court’s wall has been damaged in a storm, you need only raise the matter with your board of trustees.  

 

Who’s responsible for the walls within a sectional title?  

Sectional titles (also known as communal schemes) consist of different sections of property which are individually owned, as well as common property. Each sectional title owner retains an undefined share of the common property. 

Boundary walls or fences between two properties in sectional titles are situated on common property and will therefore be the Homeowners’ Association’s responsibility. The Homeowners’ Association will also be responsible for the exterior walls around the estate.  

Are you curious about whether you have adequate insurance for your boundary walls, and for the rest of your property for that matter? Why not get in touch with OUTsurance for an obligation-free Buildings Insurance quote. 

 

OUTsurance is a licensed insurer and FSP. Ts, Cs and standard rates apply.  
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