Party Wall
Apr 26, 2024

What happens if the Building Owner ignores the Party Wall Act?

The Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 requires notice for certain works that affect an Adjoining Owner. If a Building Owner...

The Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 requires notice for certain works that affect an Adjoining Owner. If a Building Owner proceeds with their works without serving notices, there are three main scenarios to consider:

1. Notifiable Works are About to Start

Notices need to be served between 1 and 2 months before work starts. If your neighbour (the Building Owner) is about to start without notices being served then please speak to them immediately.

Try to understand what they’re intending on doing; a polite conversation before work begins may be enough to make sure they follow the correct procedure.

If they don’t know about the Act at all then sometimes a letter from one of our party wall surveyors outlining the process resolves things, so it’s worth calling us to arrange this.

2. Works have Started

There are no penalties for not serving a notice but as an Adjoining Owner you can apply for an interim injunction.

A notice doesn’t necessarily cover retrospective work but could cover future work. A formal letter from one of our party wall surveyors might prompt the building owner into stopping works temporarily and serving notices.

Our surveyors can also help draw up awards for retroactive notices.

3. Works are Complete

Arguably it’s too late and expensive to obtain an injunction once works have been completed already; however, any Building Owner completing works without notice still owes a duty of care under common law to pay damages/compensation.

To conclude

The courts do not look favourably on those who choose to ignore the Act so if it comes down to legal proceedings then having a defect report or schedule of condition from one of our surveyors detailing damage and non-compliance with the Act will be very helpful.