I’m a leaseholder in a residential flat above a commercial unit. For most of the time that I’ve lived here, the commercial unit has been occupied. The freeholder has recently started the process of splitting the unit below into two.
My initial question relates to operation of The Party Wall etc Act 1996 and party structure notices. Noisy refurbishment work to reconfigure the unit below my flat has begun in the last few days without any notice being provided to residents. I cannot tell whether the work is going to involve cutting into the party structure separating my flat from the unit below, and the freeholder does not respond to questions.. How can I tell whether or not the freeholder is required to serve a party structure notice, and whether there are other related obligations that the freeholder should be fulfilling but is not fulfilling?
You have identified a weakness with procedures under the Party Wall Act. While there is an obligation for an owner undertaking works falling within scope with the Act to serve notice, there are no penalties for failing to do so. The only remedy available is an injunction but you would not want to risk the expense of obtaining such unless you were sure it was justified.
I can only suggest that you try to get a look at what is being done e.g. through open doors and windows.