Here at Icon Surveyors, we are commonly asked what the consequences are of not adhering to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, and why it is important to follow.
If construction works have commenced without a Party Wall Notice or Party Wall timings not being adhered to. The adjoining owner will be within their legal rights to seek a Party Wall Injunction through the courts.
What is a Party Wall Injunction, and how do I get one?
You can obtain a Party Wall Injunction within a quick time frame via your local court. Once you have an Injunction in place, the neighbouring works will be stopped immediately, without being able to commence until the Party Wall process is adhered to, and complete. If the building owner decides to ignore the injunction, it will be a criminal offence, and a matter they will be held liable for in the eyes of the law.
More often than not the building owner will be liable for the costs involved when obtaining the injunction. I.e. solicitor fees, surveyor fees and court fees.
What Happens if my Property is Damaged?
If notifiable works have commenced without a Party Wall Notice being served, and damage is caused to an Adjoining owner’s property, the burden of blame will be on the Building Owner, they will need to provide sufficient proof the alleged damage isn’t a result of their works. In most circumstances, this is difficult for building owners to do, unless a pre-work Schedule of Condition Report was undertaken.
Why has a Building Owner Commenced without Serving Party Wall Notice?
There are many reasons, this could happen, however over the years, the most common are:
The Party Wall Notice is lost in the post, or the Building Owner forgets the requirement for a Party Wall Notice conveniently or otherwise, it is a common occurrence. The building owner may also be unaware of the requirement to follow the Party Wall Procedures.
Here at Icon Surveyors, we offer Free Party Wall advice to guide people in such cases and we are always happy to help!