Responding to Party Wall Notices – An Adjoining Owner’s Guide

We understand it can be confusing for neighbours when they receive a Party Wall Notice through the post. In this article, we explain how you go about responding to a Party wall Notice and what options are available to you as an Adjoining Owner.

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Who is an Adjoining Owner?

When a Building Owner starts notifiable construction work on a property, the owner must serve a Party Wall Notice on any Adjoining Owners. It is not as simple as assuming all neighbours are considered Adjoining Owners. The Party Wall Act states that an adjoining Owner is any owner, and any occupier of land, buildings, storeys or room adjoining those of the Building Owner. This can include freeholders, leaseholders or tenants depending on the terms of their lease.

Confused by the Party Wall Notice?

Receiving a Party Wall Notice can be quite overwhelming and even feel intimidating, especially if you have never been involved with Party Wall matters before.

Upon receiving a Party Wall Notice, you essentially have two options for responding to it. You can either consent or dissent, however these options have often led to misconceptions when dealing with Party Wall matters.

Often Adjoining Owners think that by consenting they are allowing the neighbour to proceed and alternatively if they dissent, they can stop the works; however this is not true.

The Party Wall Act is an enabling Act allowing construction works to proceed. Therefore, as long as the Building Owners follow the procedures laid out in the Act, they are enabled to carry out the intended works knowing both they and their neighbours are protected, even if an Adjoining Owner dissents

Should I consent to the Party Wall Notice?

Consenting to a Party Wall Notice is the most desirable and effective outcome for all parties involved, as it allows the Building Owners to proceed with their planned construction works without dispute. However, we find that Adjoining Owners are often reluctant to consent to Party Wall Notices due to concerns in that doing so, they are signing their rights away and will not be protected from any potential damage incurred during construction works. In fact, by consenting to Party Wall Notices, you are simply stating that no dispute has arisen.

Should I dissent to the Party Wall Notice?

You have the right to dissent to the Notice, however this should only be done if you are in dispute. A dispute in terms of Party Wall matters is not always clear or obvious. A dispute could simply be that you disagree with your neighbours in how the works will move forward and need a surveyor to help resolve the issue.

An example of this is you may not have an issue with your neighbour building a new extension on their property, but they have asked for access to your garden to do so and you are not happy or comfortable with their proposals. In this instance you may choose to dissent to the Notice and appoint Party Wall Surveyors to ensure  they do have the right to access, that the procedures within the Act are followed, and a resolution is found to suit both parties.

I am not in dispute, but I am worried about consenting and the risk of damage to my property.

Consenting to the works does not mean you lose your rights under the Party Wall Act. If a dispute was to occur after your consent has been given, you still have the right to appoint a surveyor at that time.

At Harrison Clarke, we often encourage Building Owners to consider offering Adjoining Owners a Photographic Schedule of Condition even if they consent. A Photographic Schedule of Condition will document the condition of the Adjoining Owners property prior to commencing works. This has benefits for both parties, providing evidence for the Adjoining Owner should damage occur but also protecting the Building Owner from spurious claims.

Next Steps

If you are an Adjoining Owner who has received a Party Wall Notice and would like some advice from an experienced Party Wall Surveyor. Harrison Clarke can offer you a 30 minute consultation for a fixed fee of £100.00 including VAT. In this consultation, we can review your Notices and help you make an informed decision on how to respond. To book, please use our booking form which can be found on our website or call our office on 023 8155 0051. We look forward to helping you with your Party Wall matters.


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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.