Last edited 08 Mar 2021

Adjoining owner

[edit] Introduction

According to The Party Wall etc. Act 1996,“adjoining owner” and “adjoining occupier”, respectively, mean any owner and any occupier of land, buildings, storeys or rooms adjoining those of the building owner and for the purposes only of section 6 (adjacent excavation and construction) within the distances specified in that section. The building owner is defined as an owner of land who is desirous of exercising rights under this Act. This includes—

(a) a person in receipt of, or entitled to receive, the whole or part of the rents or profits of land;

(b) a person in possession of land, otherwise than as a mortgagee or as a tenant from year to year or for a lesser term or as a tenant at will;

(c) a purchaser of an interest in land under a contract for purchase or under an agreement for a lease, otherwise than under an agreement for a tenancy from year to year or for a lesser term.

[edit] Protections of the adjoining owner under the Party Wall Act

The Act protects the interests of adjoining owners from any potentially adverse effects that such works might have by imposing a requirement that all adjoining owners are given prior notice. It also grants the owner of a property the right to undertake certain works that might otherwise constitute trespass or nuisance.

Section 10 of the Act stipulates that where an adjoining owner does not consent in writing to works notified by the building owner under Sections 3 and 6, both parties must either agree on the appointment of a single surveyor to act for both of them (known as the Agreed Surveyor), or each appoint their own surveyor, to determine by award matters in dispute between the parties.

Inaction on the part of the adjoining owner does not halt the statutory process. A dispute can arise by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the building owner an objection in respect of some matter arising out of or incidental to the works - the means of making that objection are not important, but if he remains silent, neither consenting nor dissenting for a period of 14 days after having been served with a Notice under either Section 3 or Section 6, the Act deems a dissent to have arisen in any event.

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