WHAT NOTICES NEED TO BE SERVED?

Section 3(1) of the Act states that, before exercising any right conferred upon him by Section 2, a Building Owner needs to serve on any Adjoining Owner a Notice referred to as a:

"PARTY STRUCTURE NOTICE"

This must state:

The name and address of the Building Owner; the nature and particulars of the proposed work (which will depend upon the nature of the work) and the date upon which it is intended the work shall commence.

This Notice must be clear and intelligible and expressed in such words that make it easy for the adjoining owner to understand what is happening.

The Notice shall be served at least two months before the date upon which works are scheduled to commence. But, in addition, the Notice shall cease to be effective if the work has not commenced within a period of twelve months beginning on the date of service of the notice and is not prosecuted with due diligence.

Section 4 of the Act addresses the action to be taken in response by the Adjoining Owner. This is referred to in the Act as a

"COUNTER NOTICE"

Having been served with a Party Structure Notice, an Adjoining Owner MAY serve the Notice referred to. This sets out which building work can be allowed, subject to what conditions. It may also, in respect of special foundations, state what the nature of those foundations must be. In other words, it sets perimeters in terms of the nature of permitted/agreed works.

The Adjoining Owner may therefore specify works that they consider are reasonably required to maintain the structure of integrity of the party structure and/or party fence wall.

RESPONSE TO COUNTER NOTICE

A Building Owner upon whom a Counter Notice has been served shall (not may) comply with the terms of the Counter Notice unless the execution of the works required by such Counter Notice would be injurious to him; cause unnecessary inconvenience to him or cause unnecessary delay in the execution of the works in question.

As with many legal situations, it is a matter of reasonableness and degree. There is much room for interpretation. Great care needs to be taken. There are many rules which need to be followed strictly.

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