Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, Leaseholders and Freeholders are both owners, do I need to notify them all?
This blog is not an authoritative interpretation of the law; it is intended as a general guide.
In this blog, Icon Surveyor’s will firstly consider the difference between a Leaseholder and Freeholder, thereafter we will determine whether or not either and/or both must be served in accordance with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
In the simplest of terms, whether one has to serve a Party Wall Notice on an adjoining Freeholder and Leaseholder is very much dependant on whether or not the occupying and/or responsible adjoining owner is permitted to grant permission for any works that may affect the land and/or property.
What is the Difference between a Leaseholder and Freeholder?
For the purposes of section 20 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, ‘owners’ includes both a Freeholder and a Leaseholder. A Freeholder owns the absolute title to land and/or property this includes the airspace above the land/property and the land below it. A Leasehold title is ownership of a stipulated part of land or property that will revert back to the Freehold owner when the Leasehold expires. It should also be noted that both a Freehold and Leasehold title can be owned by an individual, a company or other type of body.
Do I need to serve a Party Wall Notice on all of the Adjoining owners?
Under section 3(1) of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, a building owner is required to serve “any adjoining owner notice”. As can be determined from this statement a building owner intending to carry out any works as prescribed by the Act must, prior to any commencement of such work, serve a Party Wall Notice on all adjoining owners that will be affected by the intended works. Unless that is, the building owner is certain that the Leasehold owner or other non-freehold interest owner of the adjoining land/property has been granted permission under the Leasehold or other agreement to waive any notification being given to the Freehold owner. Another situation where notice to both may not be required would be that of an adjoining Freehold owner occupying the land/property, in other words, there is no leasehold title relating to the adjoining land/ property.
Icon Surveyors, believe that prevention is better than cure. For that reason, we would suggest that a building owner serves a Party Wall Notice on both the Freehold and Leasehold adjoining owners, or for that matter, any owners that have been specified under section 20 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. These include; A person who has entered into a contract to purchase the adjoining owners’ land; A person who is in possession of the land and; A person who receives or is entitled to receive, the whole or a part of the rent.
Icon Surveyors are happy to provide a free consultation to any building or adjoining owners who may be affected by the subject matter raised in this blog.