An explanatory guide to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
6. What about things like putting up shelves or wall units, or installing recessed electric sockets, or removing and renewing plaster?
Some works on a party wall may be so minor that service of notice under the Act would be generally regarded as not necessary.
• drilling into a party wall to fix plugs and screws for ordinary wall units or shelving
• cutting into a party wall to add or replace recessed electric wiring and sockets
may all be too minor to require a notice under the Act.
The key point is whether your planned work might have consequences for the structural strength and support functions of the party wall as a whole, or cause damage to the Adjoining Owner’s side of the wall. If you are in doubt about whether your planned work requires a notice you might wish to seek advice from a qualified building professional.
7. Who counts as an "Adjoining Owner"?
Essentially, an Adjoining Owner is anyone with an interest greater than a yearly tenancy in the adjoining property.
The adjoining property may have a freehold owner, a leasehold owner and/or a long term tenant, each or all of whom may be an ‘Adjoining Owner' under the Act.
Where there is more than one owner of the property, or more than one adjoining property, it is your duty to notify all Adjoining Owners.
8. How do I inform the Adjoining Owner or owners?
It is obviously best to discuss your planned work fully with the Adjoining Owners before you (or your professional adviser on your behalf) give notice, in writing, about what you plan to do. If you have already ironed out possible snags with your neighbours, this should mean that they will readily give consent in response to your notice. You do not need to appoint a professional adviser to give the notice on your behalf.
Whilst there is no official form for giving notice under the Act, your notice must include the following details:
• your own name and address (joint owners must all be named, e.g. Mr. A. & Mrs. B. Owner)
• the address of the building to be worked on (this may be different from your main or current address)
• a full description of what you propose to do (it may be helpful to include plans but you must still describe the works)
• when you propose to start (which must not be before the relevant notice period has elapsed).
The notice should be dated and it is advisable to include a clear statement that it is a notice under the provisions of the Act.
You may want to base your notice on Example Letter 1, set out in Part 5 of this booklet.
You may deliver the notice to the Adjoining Owner(s) in person or send it by post. Where the neighbouring property is empty or the owner is not known, you may address the notice to “The Owner”, adding the address of the premises, and fix it to a conspicuous part of the premises.
You do not need to tell the local authority about your notice.
It is a good idea to keep a copy of the award with your property deeds when the works are completed.