An explanatory guide to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
9. How long in advance do I have to serve the notice?
At least two months before the planned starting date for work to the party wall. The Adjoining Owner may agree to allow works to start earlier but is not obliged to even when agreement on the works is reached. The notice is only valid for a year, so do not serve it too long before you wish to start.
10. What happens after I serve notice?
A person who receives a notice about intended work may:
• give his consent in writing, or
• dissent from the works proposed, in writing (the procedure explained in paragraph 11 then comes into play),
• or do nothing.
If, after a period of 14 days from the service of your notice, the person receiving the notice has done nothing, a dispute is regarded as having arisen — see paragraph 11.
A person who receives notice about intended work may, within one month, give a counter-notice setting out what additional or modified work he would like to be carried out for his own benefit. A person who receives a notice, and intends to give a counter-notice, should let the Building Owner know within 14 days.
If you receive a counter-notice you must respond to it within 14 days otherwise a dispute is regarded as having arisen — see paragraph 11.
As mentioned in paragraph 8, your notice should not come as a surprise. 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.
It should be noted that where consent is given you are not relieved of your obligations under the Act, for example to avoid unnecessary inconvenience or to provide temporary protection for adjacent buildings and property where necessary. The notice of consent is simply confirmation that, at that time, there is nothing 'in dispute'. Should a difference arise at a later date (for example in respect of damage caused) the procedure explained in paragraph 11 then comes into play.