One of the most common questions I am asked during my day to day job, is whether an adjoining owner can dissent after they have consented to a Party Wall Notice.
In order for this to apply, the building owner must serve a Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner, with that Notice invoking the Party Wall etc Act 1996, and giving the adjoining owner the right to either consent to those proposed works, or dissent.
Should the adjoining owner dissent, the party wall procedures will then come into play, whereby the adjoining owner will dissent and appoint a surveyor, with that surveyor’s statutory duty being to administer the Act and agree a Party Wall Award on behalf of their appointing owner.
However, where the adjoining owner consents, they are effectively reserving the rights that the Act affords them, and allowing the building owner to commence their proposed notifiable party wall works with no further formalities or party wall procedures being followed.
So what happens if an adjoining owner wants to dissent after a consent?
Quite simply, the adjoining owner will unlikely be able to exercise this option, as in consenting, they are giving the building owner a statutory contract. As with any contract, once agreed, it cannot be broken.
However, my take on it is that a consent can be changed into a dissent, however it has to be upon presentation of a genuine issue. In my experience, some of the most common types of issues are:
- The manner in which the works are undertaken.
- Damage being caused.
- Something that could affect the adjoining owner such as access onto their land.
It is also worth noting that once a consent is given, even if the adjoining owner were to turn around and claim that they consented without knowledge of the full facts, it is very unlikely that this would be accepted, as generally speaking ignorance of the law is no defence.
I would therefore recommend very carefully considering your options should a Party Wall Notice be served upon you, as once you have responded you could find yourself in a position where you are no longer able to change your mind.
Here at Berry Lodge we regularly give out 30 minutes’ free advice to any callers, and take great pride in fully informing owners of the rights the Party Wall etc Act 1996 affords them.
If you have been served a Party Wall Notice by your neighbour, and you would like to speak to one of our experienced surveyors, give us a call now and we will be more than happy to assist you.
Alternatively, if you are about to undertake works to your property and you think the Party Wall etc Act 1996 may be applicable, I would suggest giving us a call now and we would be more than happy to help.