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What are the risks of not serving a party wall notice?

Everyone should feel safe and comfortable in their own home, but when planning building works that involve a shared wall it is important to manage the process correctly. Richmond Futures are experienced surveyors based here in Richmond – they understand all of your Party Wall needs and can offer guidance throughout this complex procedure. With them on hand you can rest assured that issues with neighbours will be dealt with professionally while still being respectful towards each other’s space.

Failing to adhere to essential protocols, such as serving a Party Wall Notice, can expose property owners to a myriad of risks and potential complications. 

In this article, we delve into the crucial question: “What are the risks of not serving a Party Wall Notice?” Exploring the legal ramifications, financial implications, and potential disputes that may arise, we aim to shed light on the importance of this often-overlooked aspect in the realm of construction and property management. 

Understanding these risks becomes imperative for property owners and developers to safeguard their interests and ensure a smooth progression in their projects.


Neighbour relationships

Failing to inform your neighbours in advance poses the risk of straining your amicable relationship. If you have the kind of neighbours that you entrust with your spare key, receive packages for you, feed your cats whilst you’re away, these dynamics could swiftly diminish if your neighbours feel overlooked in your plans. Maintaining open communication is crucial to preserving the mutual respect and benefits that characterise a healthy neighbourly connection.


Unwarranted Claim Protection

Neglecting to serve notice leaves you vulnerable to potential fraudulent claims from your neighbour in the future. A schedule of condition, an impartial report crafted by a party wall surveyor, meticulously records the state of the adjoining owners’ property. This document establishes a baseline for comparing the condition before and after your building work, enabling an assessment of any potential damage incurred to the neighbouring property due to your construction activities. Serving notice becomes a protective measure against unwarranted claims and ensures a documented reference for property conditions.


Paying for damages

You likely intend to cover any damage caused to your neighbour’s property due to your work. However, pinpointing the specific damage attributable to your project and determining the associated repair costs can be challenging. Unfortunately, some neighbours may exploit your willingness to pay for damages by asserting claims for additional works. Engaging a Party Wall Surveyor safeguards against unwarranted or exaggerated claims, providing a reliable and objective assessment to protect your interests.


In court

There’s no evading the responsibility of rectifying the damage resulting from your construction activities. Courts disapprove of negligence in serving a Notice, and in extreme cases, bailiffs can be employed to recover any outstanding costs from you. The repercussions are swift and legally binding, underscoring the importance of adhering to the necessary procedures to avoid potential legal consequences.

While there are expenses associated with preparing Notices and Awards, these costs are considerably lower than the fees charged by legal professionals. If you choose not to enlist a Party Wall Surveyor, be mindful that potential disputes may necessitate the appointment of a solicitor, and possibly a barrister, for court representation. Factor in the legal fees of your neighbour’s team as well. Non-compliance with the law is disapproved by the court. Party Wall Surveyors serve to spare you from the need to navigate court proceedings and the associated substantial expenses.

To wrap up, not informing neighbours about construction plans not only strains relationships but also leads to legal risks like fraudulent claims. Serving notice protects against unwarranted claims and documents property conditions. Though compliance costs for Notices and Awards exist, they are much lower than potential legal fees without a Party Wall Surveyor. Prioritising open communication and proper procedures not only fosters positive relationships but also safeguards against legal complications during construction.