The Party Wall Act of 1996 provides a framework for avoiding and resolving conflicts over party walls. The owners of a building who want to begin construction on or near a party wall must provide notification to neighboring owners. For their part, adjacent property owners have a say in what work is performed, the option to accept or disagree with the planned work, and guarantees that the work will be performed correctly and without property damage.
What Party Wall Notification?
There are in reality three distinct Party Wall Notices that you may be required to serve, depending on your precise building work proposals:
- Notice under Section 1 is required if you intend to construct on the property line.
- Section 3Notification – applicable if you seek to construct on an existing party wall or structure.
- Notice under Section 6 is required if you intend to excavate within three meters of a party wall and below your neighbor’s existing foundations.
Each Notice must include sufficient information for the neighboring property owner to comprehend how your proposed changes are likely to affect his structure. General descriptors such as “building extension” may be invalid if challenged because they lack sufficient specificity.
Drawings are required for Section 6 Notices, but may also be included in Section 1 and Section 3 Notices as part of a comprehensive explanation of the planned works.
All Party Wall Notices must be signed and served by either the building owner or their designated Party Wall Surveyor . A surveyor may utilize his professional skills to draught the Notice and then give it to the client to sign and serve without authorization.
Party Wall Notice Requirements
- Prepare a complete written document
- Provide the names and addresses of all property owners.
- Be signed by the building owners or their authorized agent, such as a Party Wall Surveyor.
- Include the date when the notice was delivered (or posted)
- Be served on all adjacent owners (freehold and leasehold, if appropriate) in accordance with the Act’s provisions.
- Provide sufficient information about the intended job and its start date.
- Include drawings illustrating the specifics of unique foundations and/or footings with Section 3 Notices.
- Include precise plans and drawings depicting the excavation location and depth. As well as any foundation strengthening or underpinning, in Section 6 Notices.
Four methods of serving a Party Wall Notice
Being legal papers, Party Wall Notices must be served in a certain manner. Importantly, the Notice will only be legitimate if it is served in accordance with Section 15 of the Act, i.e. Through one of the permissible ways outlined therein.
1 – Delivery by Hand
Hand-delivering a Party Wall Notice involves personally delivering the Notice to the neighboring property owner. If the name of the bordering property owner is unknown, the Notice must be delivered to the occupier. The Act says that delivery must be “in person”; hence, if the neighboring owners or occupants are absent. The Notice cannot be left in the letterbox. Assuming neighbourly relations are amicable. Serving the Notice in this manner may be a less formal approach to tell them of your plans. And adds a personal touch to the legal procedure.
2 – Delivery via Mail
The Party Wall Act stipulates that documentation must be addressed to the neighboring property owner’s “usual or last known dwelling or place of business in the United Kingdom,” which is often the location shown on the title register. However, if the official address for communication is no longer in use, you must select an other means of delivery. If you want to send the Party Wall Notice to surrounding property owners by mail. You must get evidence of postage from the Post Office or send the documents by recorded/registered delivery.
3 – Service through Electronic Mail
The Party Wall Act was changed in 2016 by the Electronic Communications Order to provide the electronic delivery of papers, including its Notices. For this to be permissible, however, the building owner must not only have the neighboring owner’s email address. But the adjoining owners must also indicate their “willingness to receive the notification or document by electronic communication.” In later phases of the procedure, email service may be more beneficial for serving documents.
4 – Attaching to a prominent portion of the property
In the event where the adjoining owner is missing, there is no response at the property, or the building is empty. Section 15 (2) of the Party Wall Act nevertheless permits the service of a legal Notice. Affix the Notice to “a conspicuous feature of the property,” such as the front door or another door or window, so that it is readily visible. As proof, it is advisable to snap two photographs: one close-up of the wording of the Notice. And another showing the Notice in context.