Line of Junction Notice
If you are planning an extension, particularly a side extension, you will need to consider issuing a Line of Junction notice to your neighbour. The Line of Junction is an imaginary line dividing the lands of two Adjoining Owners. Unlike a boundary line, the Line of Junction also extends upwards.
If you are building a new wall up to the legal boundary line but on your own land you will need to serve a Line of Junction Notice under section 1 of the Party Wall Act etc 1996. To avoid serving notice, you could keep the wall back slightly but it may be in your interest to serve notice if you will need access to your neighbour’s land to build the wall.
This section of the Party Wall Act (PWA) only applies where lands of different owners adjoin and:
- are not currently built on at the line of junction; or
- are built on at the line of junction only to the extent of a boundary wall (not being a party fence wall or the external wall of a building),
and either owner is about to build on any part of the line of junction.
Note: a timber or non-masonry form of fence built over the legal boundary line is not considered as being built upon under the Party Wall Act. The land separating neighbours is considered built upon if there is a shared garden wall (referred to as a party fence wall under PWA or if the neighbour’s building structure is built up to or over the line of junction. The illustration shown below will hopefully give you a clearer idea of what does or does not constitute a Line of Junction Notice requirement: –
In our opinion, building up to the line of junction practically constitutes building a new wall within 0-10 mm of the legal boundary line and you as the building owner will have rights of access onto your neighbour’s land under the Party Wall Act to build their wall. However, if you intend to build half an inch or even greater than you would lose that right of access unless you negotiate an agreement with the neighbour.
The notice must be served by the homeowner (Building Owner) wishing to build the wall to the Adjoining Owner, at least one month before they intend the building work to start, with detailed descriptions of the planned works and accompanied drawings.
So, what must the building owner include in the notice?
- It must be addressed to the Adjoining Owner/s as listed in the land registry or Companies House records in the case of a UK listed company
- It must state the name and address of the Adjoining Owner/s as listed in the land registry or Companies House records in the case of a UK listed company
- It must state the intent to build a new wall as a party wall astride the boundary or confirm intent to build the new wall just up to the line of junction
- It must describe the new wall that the building owner intends to build – for example height, length, materials etc. The Building Owner might also wish to add further information for the neighbour’s benefit – for example ‘forming part of a single storey extension’ or include drawings
- The date of commencement of the planned works
Once the notice has been served the Adjoining Owner should serve a counter notice indicating their dissent within fourteen days, if they feel strongly about proposals for building the new wall as put forward by the Building Owner. The counter notice may stipulate any amendments to the proposed works such as that the wall should be built on half of the land of each owner or that the wall is to be built to a different height or material.
Note: as the Building Owner, you can start to build your wall after fourteen days following the service of notice without any consent from your neighbour, provided you build the wall at your own expense and entirely on your own land and have made your intention clear to build the new wall in this way when serving your notice.
In our experience, it’s always a good idea to discuss your plans with the Adjoining Owner to arrive at a solution that is acceptable and practical for both parties including, if necessary, the appointment of a single joint party wall surveyor. The party wall surveyor will help to clarify and award on the position of the new wall and any additional costs which the Adjoining Owner may have to pay if they which to reposition or improve the wall in any way.
The Line of Junction Notice can be confusing. If you are not sure whether you need a Line of Junction Notice or need any initial advice, please give us a call. We have over 20 years in the business and we’ll be happy to have a FREE, no obligation chat to guide you through the Party Wall Act and advise you on the most effective way to proceed.Feel free to call us on 020 8381 3910.