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Party Wall etc. Act 1996 Change – Service of Notices via email?

A new amendment to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 now allows all party wall related documents including awards and initial notices to be served electronically. Excited? Probably not; but here’s how the changes will work:

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 is effective from 6th April 2016.

So with the act only 20 years old, 16 years late, we have now entered the 21st century. There is now considered to be a certain level of trust and reliability in email and widespread use throughout industry; so expect to see a few other laws being tweaked like this where correspondence and written notifications are involved.

The obstacle to this new arrangement is that the recipient of the ‘electronic communication’ (most likely email) must first confirm that:

a) they are willing to receive notices/documents etc electronically

and

b) they will provide the sender with the electronic address to be used in such correspondence

Therefore you will still need to have contact with the ‘adjoining owners’ to obtain the details and consent. Actually establishing who the owners are can often prove difficult in itself.

No mention is made in the order of how this confirmation should be made, so we may have to await case law on the matter. Let’s assume that it should be in writing, and some kind of electronic communication would be satisfactory.

Delivery/read receipts will prove rather important as evidence; so these will need to be saved securely in the paperless filing system.

Party Wall notices via WhatsApp or LinkedIn message? – This could be the future!

Vince Rimmer, Chartered Building Surveyor – Anderton Gables

April 2016

For all your Party Wall related matters and to seek initial advice please contact Vince Rimmer or Will Rogers in our Preston Office Tel: – 01772 562800