Party Wall Notices – Freehold and Leasehold Neighbours

Harrison Clarke is a leading firm of chartered surveyors helping a variety of residential and commercial clients across Hampshire. 

In this article, we explain why it is important to consider if your neighbouring property has a freeholder and a leaseholder, in the world of Party Walls.

Serving Notice to freeholders and leaseholders

When neighbouring properties have both a freeholder and a leaseholder, it can be confusing knowing who you should serve Party Wall Notices on, when you need to serve them and how you serve them, so let’s start with the basics. 


What is a freeholder?

A freeholder is the person or company that owns, outright, the property and the land on which it is built on. If the neighbouring property is a block of flats or a maisonette, it is likely that there will be a freeholder of the building. However, there are also some instances where a house can have a freeholder and a leaseholder.


What is a leaseholder?  

A leaseholder is the individual who owns the property for the length of their lease agreement with the freeholder. This is subject to whatever times are agreed in that lease. When the lease comes to an end, the freeholder will gain full ownership of the property unless the leaseholder is able to extend the lease agreement.


What does the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 say about who I should serve Party Wall Notices on?

The Act is clear that a Building Owner must serve Party Wall Notices on all owners of a neighbouring property. This means that you must serve Notices on leaseholders and freeholders as they are all legally deemed to be Adjoining Owners under the Party Wall Act.


How will I know where to send my Party Wall Notices?

Your Party Wall surveyor will investigate and confirm whether a neighbouring property has a leaseholder and freeholder. 

They will also ensure that the Notices are sent to the right place, which is information they will usually find out by downloading the ownership details from the HM Land Registry – a non-ministerial government department responsible for registering the ownership of land and property in England and Wales. 


An example of serving Party Wall Notices on freeholders and leaseholders

Recently, one of our Party Wall surveyors served Party Wall Notices in relation to the development of a GP surgery into several flats. 

Both the neighbouring properties were blocks of flats and, due to the nature of the notifiable works which, in this case, needed excavation within three metres of both neighbouring buildings and cutting into Party Walls to insert steel beams, meant that several of the flats required Party Wall Notices. 

Our surveyor looked at the ownership details of the properties and found that there was one freeholder for each adjoining building, and three separate leaseholders who required Notices. This meant that a total of five sets of Notices needed to be drawn up. They all needed to be bespoke to each owner and individually served on each party. 

With this project, it was really important that the Party Wall Notices were served as early as possible. This is because, when you need to serve Notices on multiple owners, there is a higher chance of the process leading to potential delays for the construction works, as there are more individuals who may not reply to the Notice or who may dissent to the Notice. If an Adjoining Owner dissents to the Notice, the situation requires a Party Wall Award

In this case, the Building Owner was fortunate that only one neighbour dissented to their proposals. 

The dissenting Adjoining Owner appointed their own surveyor. Then, our surveyor and theirs worked together to agree the Party Wall Award.


How Harrison Clarke can help

If you think you need to serve Party Wall Notices on both freeholders and leaseholders, make sure you speak to an experienced Party Wall surveyor. They will have the knowledge and expertise to help you to fulfil your obligations under the Party Wall Act and to navigate the process every step of the way, smoothly and efficiently.

Harrison Clarke also has a range of blogs talking through various surveying services, and videos too. You can access them via our website and our YouTube channel


How you can contact Harrison Clarke

Call our friendly, expert and highly qualified surveyors on 023 8155 0051, or email us at We look forward to discussing your project with you.

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Discover something you would like to know more about?

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.