Party Wall Notices
Party Wall Notices are a legal requirement, they are required by statute and the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
Party Wall Notice Service
Party Wall Notices can be served by Royal Mail post. Furthermore they can be served by electronic means.
In order for them to be served by electronic means, the adjoining owner must have first confirmed to the building owner that they are agreeable to that form of notice service.
Party Wall Notices can also be served in person, however it is important to note that the building owner will need to physically hand the Party Wall Notice to the occupant or owner of the adjoining property to constitute legal service.
Finally, in the scenario whereby the building owner is unaware of who the adjoining owner is, Party Wall Notice can be fixed, posted or pasted to a conspicuous part of the adjoining owner’s property.
Commonly conspicuous parts are doors, gates, or windows.
The key here is that the adjoining owner is able to not only take note of the Party Wall Notice, but importantly have the opportunity to review, read, and respond to it.
Party Wall Notice Timings
Party Wall Notices must be served in advance of the building owner’s planned construction works.
The timings will depend upon the type of works that are taking place, however, at the bare minimum the Party Wall Notice will need to be served one month in advance of the planned works commencing.
There are also scenarios whereby works take place directly to party walls, party fence walls, or party structures.
In this situation Party Wall Notices will need to be served two months prior to the planned construction works.
Party Wall Notice Invalidity
The key part of the Party Wall Notice is that it is deemed legally valid.
In a scenario whereby it is deemed invalid, the legal standing is that it has not been correctly served and therefore would not apply.
In a scenario of invalid Party Wall Notice service, the building owner will need to re-serve Party Wall Notices and all legal timeframes and periods will re-set and start again.
Party Wall Notice Responses
The building owner upon service of the Party Wall Notice will be giving the adjoining owner three legal rights of response, as follows:
Consenting to the Party Wall Notice
Consenting to the Party Wall Notice means that the adjoining owner will be reserving the protections that the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 affords them.
This will very much be the end of the party wall procedures, unless there is a bona fide or demonstratable dispute between the building owner and adjoining owner.
Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and Appointing their own Party Wall Surveyor
Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and appointing their own party wall surveyor, means that the adjoining owner will be selecting a surveyor to act on their behalf.
The building owner will then also need to select their own party wall surveyor, with those two party wall surveyors agreeing a Party Wall Award.
Dissenting and Appointing an Agreed Surveyor
Dissenting and appointing an agreed surveyor means that the adjoining owner still dissents to the Party Wall Notice, however they will be agreeable for a single party wall surveyor to act on behalf of both building owner and adjoining owner.
That agreed surveyor will then progress to agreeing a Party Wall Award on behalf of both of the respective owners.
Party Wall Notice Drawings
In order for a Party Wall Notice to be deemed valid when excavation works are taking place, the building owner must include specific drawings setting out the planned construction work.
Specifically these drawings must include a depth and location of the planned excavation and foundation.
Failure to include this drawing will invalidate the Party Wall Notice, as set out above.
Lost Party Wall Notice
Once a Party Wall Notice has been served in the Royal Mail, in a conventional posting fashion, it is deemed to be legally served two days after postage.
From a legal perspective this means that the adjoining owner has been deemed to receive it 2 days from its postal date.
The building owner does not need to prove or demonstrate proof of postage, nor proof of receipt. They very much just need to keep a record of the Party Wall Notice that has been served.
If a building owner is planning on serving their own Party Wall Notice, it is sensible to obtain proof of postage.
Party Wall Notice Non-Response
If the Party Wall Notice has not been responded to, the building owner will need to serve a further Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner.
This other Party Wall Notice is referred to as a Section 10(4) Notice.
A Section 10(4) Notice will give the adjoining owner a final 10 calendar days to respond.
Failure to Respond to Section 10(4) Notice
If the adjoining owner still fails to respond to the Section 10(4) Notice, the building owner will then have the legal option and opportunity to appoint a party wall surveyor on behalf of the non-responsive adjoining owner.
That party wall surveyor will act on behalf of the adjoining owner as if they had been appointed by them, going through all the necessary procedures to administer and implement the necessary party wall procedures.
Who Can Serve a Party Wall Notice?
From a legal perspective, anyone can serve a Party Wall Notice.
Conventionally, it will be the building owner directly, or alternatively, if they so choose, they can appoint professional advisors to serve this on their behalf.
Conventionally professional advisors would be party wall surveyors, architects, engineers, or contractors.
Party Wall Notices are designed to be straightforward and simple.
Free Party Wall Notices
Here at Stokemont, we understand that there are going to be a great number of building owners that want to serve their own Party Wall Notices. We therefore have free Party Wall Notices on our website. We would only advise using our free Party Wall Notice service whereby you are on incredibly good terms with your neighbour, the adjoining owner.
Alternatively, your neighbour, the adjoining owner has confirmed that they are likely to consent to the Party Wall Notice.
Party Wall Notice Advice
If indeed you would like to serve a Party Wall Notice, or perhaps you have received a Party Wall Notice, you are very welcome to give us a call, we will be more than happy to assist and advise.
Here at Stokemont, our surveyors are not only specialist party wall surveyors, we are also building surveyors by trade.
This places us in an incredibly informed position to assist with party wall surveying matters, as we categorically understand the makeup and fabric of structures and properties.