Peabody Trust V (1) Asher Brecher (2) Malki Brecher [2017] (QBD) (TCC)

Following flagrant bad behaviour by adjoining owners, the claimant was granted default judgment and a final injunction preventing further works on the party wall between the two properties.

The defendants started out correctly by serving notices of works under the Party Wall etc Act 1996, but then behaviour took a turn for the worse when works were started without any party wall award agreed. Significant unauthorised works were carried out to the party wall and the claimant was successful in obtaining an interim injunction preventing further work and requiring the defendant to provide a temporary works design. The temporary works were consented to and carried out but inspection showed extensive damage and the claimants sought a final injunction to prevent further works without consent. The defendants didn’t attend the hearing.

The Court held that the conditions for a judgment in default were satisfied and the claimant was awarded the final injunction it sought. The Court took into account the defendants’ total disregard for the procedures of the 1996 Act, the continuation of works despite the claimant’s justifiable objections, and the fact that the defendants’ continued works despite advice to the contrary from their own party wall surveyor.

Key points

The Party Walls etc Act 1996 is there for the protection of both adjoining owners and works well when both parties follow the correct procedures.

The Court won't tolerate contravention of the 1996 Act and will support fully adjoining owners who have grounds for objection.

Follow the advice of your party wall surveyor!