Adjoining Owner – What do I do now?
If you have received a Notice about proposed works your neighbours plan to carry out to their property, you are required to respond in writing, within 14 days from the date on the Notice.
There are two main ways you can respond:
Consent to the Notice:
This simply put means that you agree for your neighbours to continue with their proposed works without a Party Wall Award being produced. You are still protected by the Party Wall etc Act 1996 if a dispute should arise.
We do advise our clients who consent to the Notice to request that a Schedule of Condition be undertaken by the Surveyor of those parts of your property that are immediately adjacent to the proposed works. This will provide a record of the current condition of the adjacent areas prior to works commencing so that in the unlikely event of damage being caused it can be easily identified.
Choosing to ‘Consent’ to the Notice is often confused with giving your ‘consent’ to the proposed works. Disputing the proposed works should be through planning regulations and not the Party Wall etc Act 1996.
Dissent to the Notice:
This option means that you would like a Party Wall Award prior to the works commencing.
You now have two options: you may concur on an Agreed Surveyor or appoint an Independent Surveyor:
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is devised in such a way that a Surveyor appointed by any party, whether developer or neighbour, is required to act impartially to administer the rights and duties of both owners. We are increasingly acting as an Agreed Surveyor for clients as the process can be quicker and more cost effective.
You may appoint an independent Surveyor of your choice. Most commonly your Surveyor’s reasonable fees in all normal circumstances will be met by the Building Owner.
Choosing to ‘Dissent’ to the Notice is often confused with disagreeing with the proposed works. If you disagree with the proposed works you should contact your local planning authority. Dissenting to the Notice simply means that you want a Party Wall Award produced before the works commence. It is not a tool to delay or stop the proposed works.
Watch the time …
Under the Party Wall etc Act 1996 there are certain timescales that you need to adhere to as both the Building and Adjoining Owner.
The Building Owner is required to serve Notice for works that affect the party wall a minimum of two months prior to works commencing, and one month prior for foundation or excavation works.
Once Notice is received the Adjoining Owner has 14 days to respond in writing stating if they consent or dissent to the works and if the latter, who their Surveyor will be. If no response is received by the Building Owner within 14 days a further Notice will be served stating that the parties are now deemed to be in dispute and a Surveyor must be appointed. If no written response is received a Surveyor will be appointed for the Adjoining Owner by the Building Owner’s Surveyor under Section 10(4) of the Act.
Not responding will not delay the proposed works.
We would always recommend that you speak to your neighbours and tell them of your intentions following the service of the Notice but we do appreciate that this is not always possible.
If you would like help in responding to any Notice served, please contact us on 0208 877 0365.