My neighbour is building and hasn’t served a Party Wall Notice or told me what he is doing. What can I do?
If your neighbour, the Building Owner, is carrying out work on or near a party structure (wall, floor, or fence wall) or digging within a certain distance and to a certain depth, without first serving a valid Party Wall Notice, they may be acting outside the law and therefore can be stopped.
You have various options.
Often the best approach is to start softly. Option 1 is soft and Option 3 is hard. Option 2 is often the best place to start.
Option 1 - Talk to your neighbour yourself. Ask them about their plans and when they intend to submit a Party Wall Notice. Sometime this is enough to get them back on track. You will need to be confident of explaining why they should submit a Notice. This isn’t an approach which suits everyone but if you can do it, it is the best for maintaining neighbourly relations.
Option 2 - Ask someone to talk to your neighbour on your behalf. Find a Specialist Party Wall Surveyor and explain your concerns to them. The surveyor could call on them personally or more likely write to them to start the conversation. Normally there should be no cost to you because Surveyors will often act for free in the first instance with the understanding that you will formally appoint them to act on your behalf should Notices be served. The fees to be incurred are commonly the responsibility of the Building Owner, your neighbour.
Option 3 - If, after you implement Option 1 or 2, your neighbour still takes no action and you are certain that they are acting in a way that requires the service of a Notice under the Party Wall Act but have not done so, you could seek an injunction from the County Court.
You will need to take legal advice for this as if you are wrong you could be left with a hefty bill. The procedure for applying for an injunction is fairly simple. Your legal advisor will guide you through the process.
Remember if you are wrong, and it is found that your rights have not been infringed and your action has incurred costs for Building Owner, you will bear those costs. Be careful.
If you are a Building Owner and are served with an injunction you should stop immediately.
If you ignore the injunction you risk imprisonment for contempt. Take expert legal advice.
It can be a real challenge and cause great distress dealing with a neighbour who is intent on flouting the law. It makes sense to take advice from an Party Wall Expert as soon as you can.
If you need urgent advice on your Party Wall Matter call us for FREE NO OBLIGATIONS ADVICE on 077300 18236 or email email@example.com
Why risk it?
Karmjit Grewal MFPWS
Coburns Party Wall
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