Enforcement of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996

Are there any enforcement procedures in the Act or can I just ignore it?

Q.
The neighbours have started work without serving a notice what can I do?

A.
If the work comes under notifiable work- either work to an existing party wall, excavation with 3 or 6m of your property/structure or building on the line of junction the first thing to do is ask them to stop pointing out their obligations under the Act. Failing that you would contact a party wall surveyor and apply for an interim injunction at the County Court or High Court. The injunction process is outside of the Act but you would be likely to succeed in your application if the building owners have ignored the Act.

Q.
The neighbours have carried out notifiable works without serving notice, whilst I was away and the work is now complete. Can I appoint a party wall surveyor to deal with this and request that they serve notice or obtain an injunction?

A.
The Party Wall Act is not retrospective. If the notifiable work is complete there is nothing you can do as far as the Act is concerned. If the Act has not been invoked by notice you cannot rely on it to resolve disputes. Party wall surveyors do not have the jurisdiction to order demolition or award damages in this instance. You may be able to obtain an injunction requiring removal of the works or reinstatement of what had previously been there or indeed compensation for any damage to your property. These are common law remedies based on the fact that the work is unlawful because the Act has not been complied with.

Q.
Does the Act give my neighbour rights come on my property to build his extension?

A.
The Act provides for access on adjoining owner’s land under s.8. A building owner, his servants, agents and workmen can enter and remain on any land or premises for the purpose of executing any work in pursuance of the Act. There certain stipulations, one of those is providing 14 days’ notice in normal circumstances.

Q.
What if I refuse entry to the workmen what can they do?

A.
The building owner, his agents and workmen may, if accompanied by a constable or other police officer, break open any fences or doors in order to enter the premises.

Q.
I have just erected a new fence on my land against the boundary and the neighbours want to take it down whilst they build their extension. I don’t want them to touch it. Do they have a right to take it down?

A.
Again, s.8 of the Act provides that a building owner, his servants, agents and workmen may remove any furniture or fittings or take any other action necessary. It is likely that they would be able to remove the fence subject to reinstating it as before.

Q.
Does the Act allow the building owners to place their foundations on my land?

A.
The simple answer is yes. S.1 of the Act provides for this, subject to compensation for any damage caused.

Q.
What if I simply refuse to let the workmen come on my land or just make it difficult by obstructing the work?

A.
If you obstruct or hinder a person who is attempting to do anything he is entitled you are guilty of an offence and are liable on summary conviction to a fine of an amount not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

For advice and help with your party wall questions Call Now:-

Richard G Johnson ACIOB Dip Eng Law (Open) ON 07740 257414

 

 


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