Welcome to Stokemont’s property blog series, we really do hope that it can be of assistance. On our website we have a variety of blog post available which cover a wide range of property related topics.
In this post the focus will be on the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. When a building owner intends to carry out works that fall within the remit of the Party Wall Act, they are legally required to serve a Party Wall Notice on all relevant adjoining owners.
There are a wide range of works that fall within the remit of the Party Wall Act including building on or astride the boundary line, carrying out works directly to a party wall or structure and excavating within 3m of an adjoining property.
When a building owner serves Party Wall Notice they must ensure that the notice specifies the nature of the proposed works and the sections of the Act in which the works fall within.
Party Wall Notice Response Options
In response to the Party Wall Notice, the adjoining owner has three response options available to them.
- Consent – this will end the party wall procedures & allow the building owner to proceed with their proposed works.
- Dissent & appoint an ‘Agreed Surveyor’ – this will result in a Schedule of Condition of the adjoining owner’s property and the creation of the Party Wall Award.
- Dissent & appoint independent Surveyor – much like the ‘Agreed Surveyor’ option. Although two surveyors will carry out the process.
Party Wall Notice Timing
The adjoining owner has a period of 14 days to respond to the Party Wall Notice with any of the three options set out above. If no response is made within the 14-day notice period, the building owner is required to serve a further notice under section 10(4) of the Act which will allow the adjoining owner a further 10 days to respond to the notice.
Once the notice period has expired and there is still no response from the adjoining owner a dispute is automatically deemed to have arisen and the building owner would then be able to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor on behalf of the non-responsive owner to create a Party Wall Award which will allow them to progress with their proposed works.
Weighing up Party Wall Surveyors
If you are an adjoining owner who has recently been served a Party Wall Notice you may be wondering which response option you should go for. These days it is very rare for adjoining owners to consent to Party Wall Notice as it offers no protection to their property in the event of damage.
More often the adjoining owner will dissent and appoint a Party Wall Surveyor, the resulting Party Wall Award will offer them protection in the event of damage to their property and they will receive Surveyor input throughout the process.
When Dissenting to a Party Wall Notice, our advice would be to identify an experienced Party Wall Surveyor who is well qualified & when considering using the building owner’s surveyor as the ‘Agreed Surveyor’ thorough research should be made into this Surveyor to ensure that they are likely to provide a good service.
It is not unusual for building owners to simply choose the cheapest Party Wall Surveyor available who may not particularly provide an excellent service which is why as an adjoining owner you should always investigate the Surveyor before opting for the ‘Agreed Surveyor’.
After researching which Surveyor, you would like to use, it is always best to respond to the Party Wall Notice as soon as possible to reduce the likelihood of delays to the neighbour’s proposed works. If there are delays caused to the building owners works this can lead to tension between the neighbours, which is a scenario that nobody particularly likes to find themselves in.
If you have recently been served a Party Wall Notice, please feel free to contact us & send that over to our team of highly experienced Party Wall Surveyors. Our surveyors would be happy to review the notice and provide you with some further advice on it.