Invalid Party Wall Notices

What Are the Consequences of Serving an Invalid Party Wall Notice?

If you’re planning building works in England or Wales that involve excavating near or constructing on the boundary line between two properties, you have a legal duty and responsibility to serve a Party Wall Notice upon the neighbouring adjoining owner(s).

In line with the requirements stipulated in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, this notice initiates the formal party wall agreement between neighbours. The purpose of a Party Wall Notice is to notify them of your proposed and planned work, including enough information that the adjoining owner(s) can make an informed decision in response.

However, things can go wrong if the Party Wall notice is invalid or has errors, or if they are not served in accordance with the provisions of Party Wall legislation. Serving an improper notice not only slows down the building process, but rectifying any errors requires additional resources and time, and has a cost implication. This is why we, at Tim Greenwood & Associates, would recommend that any Party Wall notices be served formally by accredited, experienced Party Wall surveyors who are familiar with relevant legislation, conditions, and your individual circumstances.

At Tim Greenwood & Associates, our expert chartered building surveyors can help clients deal with the fallout from invalid party wall notices. We understand the importance of ensuring any notices are issued legally and lawfully and can offer building owners undertaking structural works initial advice on what notices are required to ensure that all obligations are communicated ahead of time.

What Makes a Party Wall Notice Invalid?

For a party wall notice to be valid under the Act, it must:

  • Be clearly served under Sections 1, 3 and 6 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
  • Be served on all relevant adjoining owners at least two months before planned building works begin.
  • Provide a clear, accurate description of the proposed works and their extent.
  • Include the name, address, and contact details of the building owner serving notice.
  • Provide details of where and when the adjoining owner can inspect plans and drawings.

Common reasons party wall notices are considered invalid:

  • Incorrect or missing adjoining owner names and address details.
  • An insufficient notice period is given before work starts.
  • If the notice has expired (usually they are valid for one year).
  • If the work is not prosecuted with due diligence
  • If any unaccounted-for damage caused by the works could have legal ramifications
  • Unclear or misleading description of works.

Serving an incomplete or vague notice leaves room for dispute and may render the Party Wall notice invalid.

Consenting to a Party Wall Notice

Party Wall Notice consent occurs when the adjoining owner(s), upon receipt of the notice, agrees to the proposed actions outlined in the notice, allowing the building owner to carry out the planned works without the need to give any further consideration, time, or expense to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 procedures.

Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice

If the adjoining owner dissents to a Party Wall Notice, they will be given the legal right to seek input, advice, and counsel from a Party Wall surveying firm. Their role will be to act on the adjoining owner’s behalf in line with Section 10 of the Act and ensure that all risks outlined in the notice are as low as can be.

They may also introduce temporary procedures and protections during the work, such as access or method statements. As outlined in the Party Wall legislation, the building owner would be liable for the adjoining owner’s Party Wall surveyor fees.

Oftentimes, however, both the building and adjoining owner can come to a mutual agreement and appoint a single agreed Party Wall surveyor who will act on behalf of both parties. Once an appointment is made in accordance with the Act, it cannot be rescinded, and the appointed building surveyors will be undertaking the statutory role of ensuring all the Act conditions are adhered to in the serving of notices.

How Can a Building Surveyor Help with Invalid Notices?

At Tim Greenwood & Associates, our specialist Party Wall surveyors can assist with invalid notices in several ways:

  • We will advise whether the proposed building works fall within the remit of Party Wall legislation and, where necessary, serve formal notices?.
  • We will agree on Party Wall Awards on behalf of building owners and act on adjoining owners’ behalf if notice is served upon them.
  • We can provide detailed information and impartial advice regarding your rights and responsibilities as either a building owner or adjoining owner.
  • Our expert team will assess the safety implications of the proposed building works as it pertains to your property and its occupants.
  • Issue Schedules of Condition reports, which set out the condition of any adjoining owners’ properties before building works begin.

Our party wall surveyors in Surrey, Sussex, London and beyond can provide detailed information regarding your rights as a building or adjoining owner.

Have more questions about party wall notices? Contact Tim Greenwood & Associates to arrange a consultation with our specialist party wall surveyors.