What happens if my neighbour ignores the Party wall notice

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The Party Wall Act was initiated in 1996. The purpose of the Act is to provide a framework to avoid any dispute resultant from the building of an existing party wall.  Wondering what to do when neighbour ignores the party wall notice?

Under the Party Wall Act; anyone attempting to do the work which falls under the Act shall first serve a Party Wall Notice. This is because it may cause harm and impact neighbouring property.

Depending on the proposed work, the neighbour then will serve a counter-notice. The Act allows a mechanism to nominate a party wall surveyor, whether you agree on work to do. The surveyor then makes an award that decides how exactly the owner should complete work. The surveyor can also grant compensation in cases of loss or injury. 

Let’s explore what will happen if your neighbour takes no notice of the party wall Act

When you serve the party wall notice, the adjacent owner has 14 days to respond to the notice. When he does not answer in given 14 days, you send another message at that time, giving an additional final ten days notice.

If, after the serving the party wall notice under section 10 (4) notice (Party Wall Act 1996), the adjoining owner still doesn’t respond, the building owner can then, on behalf of the non’ responsive adjacent owner, appoint a surveyor to allow the party wall to proceed. Though, all warnings must be adequate and accurate until a surveyor is selected per Section 10 (4) notice. 

After serving section10 (4), notice there is still the chance to consent from an adjoining owner. On the other hand, if there is no reply from the adjacent owner, it is permissible for you to do the proposed work without having further discussion with the neighbour under the party wall act.

Failure to serve a party wall notice

By not serving a party wall notice, you would be disobeying a ‘Statutory Duty’. If a neighbour says they suffered harm because of your construction work, they will provide proof of the damage in its present state and can claim as much amount as they want to. 

It would be tough to identify damage incurred by the work with the schedule of the condition report. Therefore, your neighbour may decide to make false statements for flaws that occur beforehand.

There has been a breach of statutory duty the court will probably view and apply the’ Reverse Burden of proof.’ This practice ensures that the argument of the neighbour is presumed to be correct unless otherwise shown. Therefore, you will be required to pay for any amount of repairs that you are not responsible for. It is always best to hire a qualified surveyor to draw out an award, as then any issues over the damage which might arise will be resolved at a later date.

Final Words

The Party wall act provides a Party wall surveyor process (a decided surveyor or separate surveyors for both parties involved). Even if your neighbours refuse the party wall Act, you can proceed with construction work. It is always recommended to contact the party wall surveyor cordially and early if your neighbour ignores the party wall notice for two or more weeks.

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