Disputes concerning party walls are not always straight forward and the recent decision of Freetown Ltd v Assethold Ltd heard in the High Court provides a timely reminder not to forget the basics.
The High Court has clarified the time limits for lodging an appeal against a party wall award. The decision in Freetown shows that the time for appealing a Party Wall Award starts to run from when the award is ‘posted’ by the third surveyor rather than when it was deemed received by the party (as was the case in Freetown).
The Party Wall Act states that there is a 14 day period for appealing the Party Wall Award and misinterpreting the timings could mean that there is insufficient time to prepare an appeal or as is the case with Freetown, a party could be deemed out of time to Appeal. The parties, and more importantly their surveyors, should ensure that they make provision for receipt of the Award so as to remove any uncertainty as to the time limits to lodge an Appeal and avoid costly mistakes.
This case has wider application than just the Party Wall Act as it reminds us of the importance of the serving notices correctly. The Court in this case referred to the service of notices under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927. To avoid basic mistakes the service of any notice should be checked carefully and should be in accordance with the relevant act, case law or contractual position.
For further assistance in relation to the Party Wall Act, please do not hesitate to contact Lauren Brown on 020 7079 2402.
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