The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is the key piece of legislation, or law, related to property or land (where boundaries are concerned) owned by two or more people or “parties’”.
The Act becomes applicable when proposed construction works affect a wall shared by two parties:
Typical works that require use of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 include:
Cutting into the shared wall [s3, ss1 supported by s 2, ss2 Party Wall etc. Act 1996]
Excavations [s 6, ss 1,2, Party Wall etc. Act 1996]
“Raising” a party wall up or down (basements & lofts) [s3, ss1 supported by s 2, ss2 Party Wall etc. Act 1996]
Construction of a wall on or at the boundary
Notices are served on the adjoining owners, that is the neighbours or persons who are the legal owners / legal occupiers of the adjacent property. Such Notice should be served, as required by the Act, one or two months prior to the works commencing depending upon the nature of the works proposed.
You can serve the notice yourself, although you must make sure it is valid i.e. it has been served under the relevant section, is signed, and dated.
Agreements & Consent / Acknowledgement
Having been served Notice, the adjoining owner will need to respond in 14 days. Agreement may be concluded in one of two ways:
1) By dispute or “dissent” leading to the draft of a Party Wall Award
2) Written consent / acknowledgement (that does not waive the rights of Adjoining Owner)
Consequences for not invoking the rights outlined in ‘the Act’ are financially severe, it is therefore advised that if works are proposed which are applicable to the Act, then proper procedure is followed.