Following the procedure...
Written notice to your neighbours (and their landlord or freeholder if your neighbours don’t own the property) is going to need to be given at least two months prior to any work starting, or one month for excavation works.
It’s important to realise that there may well be more than one adjoining owner, especially in a built up area, and also that more than one Notice may need to be served depending on the works.
Before this is done, it’s great if you can talk to your neighbours and anyone affected in person first. They’ll then be expecting the notice, and you’ll have already answered any questions they might have.
When they give consent, it will need to be in writing within 14 days of the date of the notice you gave.
Once this is given, a Schedule of Conditions can be prepared of the adjoining owners property and works may then start.
Have you received notice?
If you’ve received notice from your neighbour or adjoining owner, you’ll need to respond to that notice in writing within 14 days of the date of the notice.
Contact me to discuss how best to proceed…. There are many things to check before deciding the correct course of action.
What if there is a dispute?
If there is a dispute about the proposed work, or you don’t get written consent within 14 days, you're going to need a Surveyor to act on your behalf, and your neighbour will need one as well. If you have already appointed one to prepare the notice, you’re ahead of the game.
If you’d like to, your neighbour can appoint the same surveyor who can then act impartially for both parties. The surveyor would then be known as the ‘Agreed Surveyor’. Your neighbour may also appoint their own surveyor to act on their behalf.
The surveyor/s would then prepare a Party Wall Award describing the details of the proposed work, including when and how it will be carried out.
This includes a Schedule of Condition which records the condition of the adjoining property before work is started.
The Surveyor/s in this instance would be granted access to both properties so they can monitor works while they happen, and would also establish within the Award who is paying for the work.
What happens if I ignore the Act?
In short, any work you do without having it covered by the Act may need to be undone or changed completely.
Entire extensions have been torn down because they were not covered and an adjoining owner lodged a complaint.
Additionally, if and when you come to sell your property, a Solicitor will want to see that a Party Wall Award has covered any work done.
If they see that it hasn’t, they’ll advise your buyer and they may well move on.