What does a Party Wall Notice consist of? First, I would like to start off by providing detailed information on what a Party Wall Notice consists of.
Requirements of a Valid Party Wall Notice:
Full Names of the Registered Owners
In order for a Party wall notice to be valid, It is required that the full name of the owner/owners of the properties involved are enlisted on the Party Wall Notice(s).
In a situation where the legal owner of the property is unknown, they should be simply addressed as the ‘The Owner’. in these cases, the notice must be hand-delivered to the owner or occupant or taped to their front door.
Full Address of the Properties
The full address of the properties in question alongside the contact addresses of all owners involved is also required for the Party Wall Notices to be valid.
It will be in the best interest of the building owner serving the party wall notice to make sure that the adjoining owners contact address is served upon rather than just the property that may be affected by the works, as in some cases, the owner of the property may not reside at the property.
Date of the Works
The date that the proposed works will begin should be mentioned in the Party Wall Notices. For works directly affecting the Party Wall Structure, the start date should be at least 2 months after the Party Wall Notice has been served.
For any other types of works that don’t affect the Party Wall structure, it should be at least 1 month after the service of the Party Wall Notice.
As these are legal documents being served, All owners of the property must sign the notice unless one person has been authorised to sign on behalf of everyone.
Description of the Works
It is required that every Party Wall Notice contains details of the works that are going to be taking place.
If foundation works are taking place, drawings showing details of the section drawings of the excavations must be present.
If what is listed in the checklist above is all present you can be sure that the Party Wall notice served, or that has been received, is indeed valid.
Whenever a Party Wall Notice is served by a Building Owner upon an Adjoining Owner, the Adjoining Owner has a statutory response period of 14 days from the Notice date to formally respond. It is also worth noting that as per Freetown v Assethold Ltd, a Notice is legally deemed as received “in the ordinary course of post” therefore the recommended allowance is a further 2 days, totalling 16 days.
Party Wall Notice Response Options
Once served a Party Wall Notice, there are a total of three specific responses that can be chosen by an Adjoining Owner, these options are as follows:
- Consent to the works
- Dissent to the works and appoint an Agreed Surveyor
- Dissent to the works and appoint their own Party Wall Surveyor
How do you go about serving Party Wall Notices?
In order to ensure that Party Wall Notices are served in a correct manner which complies with the Party Wall etc Act 1996, I have listed the main options available below:
Serving Notices by Post:
This being the most common method of serving Party Wall Notices. It is vital to ensure that you have the full contact address of the adjoining owners as this will avoid any delays in receiving responses.
The Official Land Registry Portal will generally include the contactable address of the adjoining owners.
Serving Notices by Hand:
The Act allows for Notices to be served by hand by the building owner provided that it is physically handed to the adjoining owner or the occupant.
More recently, as of 2016, the Party Wall etc Act 1996 has taken in my opinion, the necessary step to adapt to the modern times and have recognised that electronic mail is deemed necessary in today’s business trading operations, the Act, therefore, made its first amendment to the Act, since its introduction in 1996.
The Electronic Communications Order 2016, means Party Wall Notice can now be served via email (electronic communication) so long as the recipient of the communication has confirmed the following points:
Firstly, there is a willingness to receive the Party Wall Notice, or document by means of electronic communication.
Secondly, that willingness must not be withdrawn at any time of the exchange.
Thirdly, the Party Wall Notice or document being sent, is sent to the email address specified by the recipient.
Fixing Notices on doors or windows
This is the least common method of serving Party Wall Notices. This is, in my opinion, most likely due to the fact that it is generally unmannerly to fix Notices on another’s door or window, it can be seen mirror the action of being issued a parking ticket or eviction notice.
However, with that being said, the Act allows that in the event the owner of the property is unresponsive then Party Wall Notices should be fixed onto the door or a window in a visible manner. The term used within the Act is ‘conspicuous’, so the Notices should be fixed in a conspicuous part of the property.
Party Wall Surveying situations can be tangled and at times unclear, I hope all the details I have provided help with any uncertainty that you may have had prior to reading this blog, I also hope you enjoyed reading it!
If you would like professional assistance, please don’t hesitate to get in contact I happily offer 60 minutes free Party Wall Advice to any caller.