My Neighbour’s Ignoring My Party Wall Notice – What Should I do?

Picture the scene. You’re planning to extend your home. You’ve done all of the legwork, including getting a party wall surveyor to review your drawing, prepare your notices and serve them to your neighbour. You’ve done everything by the book, but you’ve hit a snag. Your neighbour hasn’t replied to your notice. Now what do you do?

How Long Does my Neighbour Have to Respond?

Once youve served your party wall notice, your neighbour will have 14 days from the date it was served to respond to that notice. It’s important to remember that their response needs to be in writing – a chat over the garden fence isn’t enough.  They need to respond in writing for it to be valid.

What Happens if I Have no Response After 14 Days?

If, after 14 days, your neighbour hasn’t formally responded to your notices, then they are automatically deemed to have dissented. But that isn’t the end for you. You now need to serve a further notice giving them a final 10 days to respond, either by consenting or appointing a surveyor. This notice is often called a 10-day notice, or a reminder notice. Your party wall surveyor will be able to draft this notice for you.

What Happens if my Neighbour Ignores The 10-Day Notice?

In some situations, we never receive a response from neighbours! This can happen for a variety of reasons. Your neighbour could be away on holiday, absent or unwell, or just not that worried about your works. But it’s important that you don’t assume your neighbour is happy to consent. If you haven’t got any response after the 10-day extension, you’ll now need to appoint your own surveyor (the building owner’s surveyor) and appoint a surveyor to act on your neighbour’s surveyor (the adjoining surveyor) under Section 10(4) of the Party Wall Act.

We do appreciate that having to find and appoint another surveyor can be frustrating (not to mention expensive). But Section 10(4) of the Party Wall Act is an example of the Act’s main goals – to facilitate certain construction works while ensuring that appropriate safeguards are put in place to protect those impacted by notifiable construction works. It does this by providing a mechanism to prevent delays to a building owner’s construction works by allowing the building owner to appoint a surveyor to act on behalf of an absent neighbour. This surveyor will then help to ensure the neighbour’s interests are considered and protected alongside your own surveyor.

How Can I Stop Them Ignoring The Notice?

Communication is key! At every part of the process, open communication with your neighbours is the best way to get a good result. If you know your neighbours or you live at the property you’re planning work on, take the opportunity to knock on their door and have a chat about your proposal. At Harrison Clarke, we see the best outcomes and fewer objections when building owners are open, honest and speak to their neighbours.

If you don’t know your neighbours or there is a strained relationship between you that could lead to a non-response, timing is an important factor. You might not be able to prevent a dispute and the appointment of surveyors, but you can make sure your notices are served as early as possible will help to prevent delays to your project.

Advice for Neighbours – Responding to a Party Wall Notice

If you’ve received a party wall notice from your neighbour, we can’t stress just how important it is to respond to it in writing. Whether you want to consent or object, it needs to be recorded officially.

If you’re happy with the build owner’s proposals, then you need to confirm it in writing to make sure you’re protected under the Party Wall etc Act 1996. If you’re unhappy with the proposal, ignoring the notice won’t stop your neighbour from starting work. Instead, you need to appoint a surveyor to act on your behalf, remembering that you can use the same surveyor as an agreed surveyor if you want to.

Sometimes you might think that by ignoring the 14-day and 10-day notices you’re delaying the building work from taking place. And sometimes that’s true, but by doing so you’re risking losing control and your right to choose a surveyor to act on your behalf. Once a surveyor has been appointed, you won’t be able to remove this surveyor or choose another surveyor even if you’re unhappy with how they’re working. Which isn’t the best situation for you! If you really want to object, you need to follow the process and ensure you have the opportunity to choose the surveyor working on your behalf.

If you have any questions about party wall notices, or if you need some help around serving or responding to party wall notices, our team of experienced party wall surveyors are here to help. All you have to do is get in touch with the team by calling 023 8155 0051.

We also have a range of videos talking through various aspects of the Party Wall process. You can access them via our website or our YouTube channel

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Faye Williams, party wall and building surveyor at Harrison Clarke chartered surveyors.

About the author

Faye Williams,
BSc (Hons) MFPWS Senior

Surveyor & Winner of Young Property Person of the Year 2023

Faye joined Harrison Clarke in 2018. Faye found an interest in Party Wall surveying, and became a Member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors in 2022.

Since then, Faye has set out a revolutionary approach to party wall instructions, by focusing on people and relationships, backed up by expert knowledge. Faye’s approach has saved building owners £1,000s in unnecessary party wall fees.