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Gaining Access to Neighbour's Land

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 29 Jun 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Access Neighbour’s Land Neighbouring

If you have a good relationship with your neighbours, it’s not usually a problem for them to grant you permission to go onto their land in order that you can carry out repairs to your own property. It might be a gutter that needs replacing, and you need to get onto their side of the fence to remove the old one and replace it with a new one. Perhaps it’s a tree that is situated in your garden but which has become dangerous and unstable and it needs chopping down, yet some of the branches now hang over your neighbour’s fence. It could even be something like a drainage issue.

Ask Your Neighbour for their Permission First

A polite approach to your neighbour to ask them if you can go onto their land to resolve a problem will usually be sufficient. Sometimes they might want to ask you for more specific detail about the nature of the problem, and why you need to do the work from their side. They may be perfectly amenable to you gaining access from their side, but it might have to fit in at a time which suits them.

However, there will always be ‘awkward’ people or those who prove to be the exception to the rule and, depending on your reasons for needing to go onto their land, they might refuse permission and they may have every right to do that. In certain circumstances, you might be able to force access by taking legal action.

What The Law Says

The Access To Neighbouring Land Act 1992 can, in some instances, force a neighbour into granting you access to their land. However, the reasons needs to be justified and applicable to the law, and you must apply to the county court for an access order for which you will be charged a fee.

Justification for Granting Access to a Neighbour’s Land

When applying for an access order, you must be able to prove to the court that the repairs or any work that needs to be carried out would be necessary to preserve either a part or all of your land or property, and that either the work could not be carried out, or would be substantially hampered by the failure to be given access to your neighbour’s land.

The Importance of the Term ‘Preservation’

It’s important to be clear that an access order will only be granted in relation to the preservation, renewal or repair of any existing structure and related components of it, such as drains, pipes, cables etc, which might have become damaged, or the Removal Of Trees and other growing vegetation that might be dead, diseased, damaged or which may have become uprooted and could be deemed dangerous if not removed.

Therefore, this does not mean that you will succeed in being granted an access order if you are building an extension to your property, even if you have planning permission. Yes, certain alterations, modifications and improvements might be permissible under an access order, but only if they are incidental to the other preservation work which is carried out and it can be justified that this is necessary.

Unless relations between you and your neighbour have become so bad that they have reached a point of ‘no return’, there is rarely need for you to ever have to apply to have an access order granted. However, it is important that you understand the legal implications and the limits of the Court’s powers in this regard. This is especially relevant for any planning developments that you may be considering, where it might be highly advisable to discuss the potential for access to your neighbour’s land with your neighbour directly, if you think that might be necessary, before going ahead with any work – even if you have been granted planning permission. Understand more about your rights to access to neighbour's land here

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My house is detatched - neighbours erected a fence that they asked permission for it to be attached to my property - which I was happy to grant on the proviso that we could still gain access to the side of our property for maintenance. They have now erected a shed that is against my chimney breast with no guttering. We have not access to the chimney - and we have a log burner, when it rains the excess water is running straight onto our home. Do we have any rights here?
Lallison - 29-Jun-19 @ 9:50 PM
Neighbour allowing access to his property to enable me to maintain my property:But is refusing to move large garden plant posts/ornaments.He says that I maintain my property at my own risk, if I damage any of his compensation, he will seek reimbursement.What can I do?
na - 9-Jun-19 @ 1:08 PM
My neighbour has erected a wall 1ft 7 inches and then placed 6 ft panelling on top on the disputedboundary line of the semi detached house we own , he was advised to stop building the wall back in October 2018 , but has completely ignored this and feels he can do what he likes when he likes , the front garden is only about 14 feet long and ittowersabove us .if we make any attempt to talk he calls the police for harrasment , it's is making me ill all this going on , advice please
D - 26-Mar-19 @ 3:33 PM
My neighbors have enclosed the ally way next to party wall.They have drilled holes in the party wall to hang coats etc .They have refused to allow me entry with a structural engineer to inspect the party wall.What can I do to gain access to see what they have done to the wall?The council say my neighbors don't need planing for enclosing the ally with doors at both ends.They are using this area as a cloak room.
Tifmac - 13-Feb-19 @ 12:53 AM
I will firstly say I have no desire to take full on legal action, it is a fence/boundary issue, but I seem to not be able to get a reasoned answer from the chap next door I am after advice in respect of setting out my stall and more importantly knowing where I stand (legally) and then advice on practically how to defend myself and property regarding the fact I simply can’t get my neighbour to stop. I bought my house almost 2 years ago. The boundary walls are silent.It is a 1935 semi, so concrete block structure either side of the garden.They are your typical wonky 1935type walls.I have checked his deeds also, the fence is not mentioned at all, just the walls The gardens are stepped, the house to my left is lower than me by about 6ft.The house to my right is higher than me.All of the walls on the street, lean slightly to the left. The elderly neighbour on my left has been maintaining a fence ( he says he has), that he tells me was already up in 1993 when he moved in.The fence sits on top of the boundary wall, but the batons are fastened to my side of the wall, and are vile to look at and badly constructed and maintained.I have spent thousands on the house so far, the garden is my next project. He grumbled to me when I moved in that my predecessor didn’t look after the garden, hence I presume the fence maintenance. It is really a gentleman used to getting his own way ( a prime example is that he paints my side of the apex of the pillar box and boundary wall out front) and he complained when I took down a bush in the front garden when I moved in as he used to attach his Christmas tree lights to it….. However, my assumption has always been it is mine, it is on my side. It can’t have been built by the person who owned his house previously.Besides it can’t be his as if it was his, I presume to erect the fence on top of the wall on his side, would give him walls in excess of 6ft 6 and he would require planning permission Twice in 2017 I caught my elderly neighbour in my garden.Once on a Sunday morning at around 9 am,he was well aware I was in, as he would have had to squeeze past my car to access my gardenand once when I returned home.The latter occasion he had let himself in to paint my side of the fence and there was creosote all over the wall and all over my grass.I asked him to stop coming in my garden both times. There are no rights of way and the driveway is not a shared one.He simply ignores my requests. I realised after the first time, and having caught him the second that he has no respect for me and is probably so used to getting his own way, so I simply erected a driveway gate and thought that would solve the issue of the trespass and tinkering to the fence.I have naïvely ignored his re attaching fence panels as they have erodedas I had no idea that he has been scaling the wall since I built the drive.He has always been rather dismissive and unpleasant so I have been activel
Rae - 7-Feb-19 @ 10:34 PM
I’m hoping you might be able to help/advise me on a problem I’m having with my property caused (I believe) by the building work my neighbours have had done. My property is end terrace and was built in 1904. My neighbours ( who live abroad) have converted their attic into a flat accessed by an external staircase which butts up to my lounge wall. This access was originally fitted in the late 1980s and a new one fitted last year. Since then a damp patch appeared on my lounge wall at the level of the stair landing, along with an awful noise whenever the staircase is used. I have been in contact with the owners who employed a surveyor to look at the problem. He expressed his thoughts to me stating that the original staircase had damaged the rendering which should have been repaired before erecting a new one. Also there should be a gap between my wall and the stairs. Although I have asked the owners to see the report it hasn’t been shown to me. Only the builder, whom I assume doesn’t want his work criticised, has visited stating that the stairs are not the cause of the damp. Also an email from the owner stating that the flat is only use 2 months a year so any noise should worry me. I am at a loss as to where to turn now and would be grateful for any assistance dealing with the problem.
Penny - 10-Jan-19 @ 9:36 PM
I’m hoping you might be able to help/advise me on a problem I’m having with my property caused (I believe) by the building work my neighbours have had done. My property is end terrace and was built in 1904. My neighbours ( who live abroad) have converted their attic into a flat accessed by an external staircase which butts up to my lounge wall. This access was originally fitted in the late 1980s and a new one fitted last year. Since then a damp patch appeared on my lounge wall at the level of the stair landing, along with an awful noise whenever the staircase is used. I have been in contact with the owners who employed a surveyor to look at the problem. He expressed his thoughts to me stating that the original staircase had damaged the rendering which should have been repaired before erecting a new one. Also there should be a gap between my wall and the stairs. Although I have asked the owners to see the report it hasn’t been shown to me. Only the builder, whom I assume doesn’t want his work criticised, has visited stating that the stairs are not the cause of the damp. Also an email from the owner stating that the flat is only use 2 months a year so any noise should worry me. I am at a loss as to where to turn now and would be grateful for any assistance dealing with the problem.
Penny - 10-Jan-19 @ 9:35 PM
I already have email permission for a section 104 for mains sewage connection & have to complete the forms.In order to connect I need access across a neighbour’s Tarmac drive which will need to be dug up I will of course pay for any costs involved to make it all good but should I offer some personal compensation for the disruption. If so how much ? I need to dig a channel approx 6 metres long Many thanks
Evie - 3-Jan-19 @ 10:56 PM
We require work on our roof mid terrace. Our neighbour is refusing us to do this unless we replace the old tiles with the same although they are inefficient. They initially agreed for work to go ahead with new tiles and have now refused. We would need to remove a few of their existing tiles but would replace them as they are. No damage to there property would be incurred. Do we have any rights. Our neighbour on the right has no issue with work being done. Help
clare parry - 1-Nov-18 @ 6:28 AM
My neighbors have built a conservatory to within 6 inches of my close boarded fence the building came in two parts which the builders need to access to seal it where do I stand on this matter as we do not have good relationship with the neighbors and the builders as they need to take my fence down
Blink - 28-Oct-18 @ 1:01 PM
I am trying to bring Electricity to a Self build. My problem is the nearest Electric Pole is 250mm inside the neighbouring property and she is refusing to let UK Power Network access to the pole. The Difference in costs from that pole £1980.00 to the next is £30k. UKPN is saying they cannot do anything unless she aggrees to let them have access, but I've been told about the Electricity Act of 1989? Can you please help? westwood
westwood - 11-Jul-18 @ 5:49 PM
Helen - Your Question:
I own land at back of my propertyI have to give my neighbour access to parking space on my land.I am selling my house and the new owner to be have said if I own theland and the 21 years restricted Providence was up last year they don't have to give the access is this right

Our Response:
We don't know. What are the terms of your deeds? If not there, is the access right documented elsewhere?
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Jun-18 @ 10:34 AM
I own land at back of my property I have to give my neighbour access to parking space on my land. I am selling my house and the new owner to be have said if I own thelandand the 21 years restricted Providence was up last year they don't have to give the access is this right
Helen - 26-Jun-18 @ 2:40 AM
I am at a loss as to what my next step should be: The side of my property backs onto a field which has recently changed hands - the new owner has now erected stables and feed stores for her horses (all retired).The issue and problem is that when my neighbours dogs are in the field and barking, my young labrador leapt over my wall to play with dogs.Clearly this was not something the owner of the field was happy with and obviously I did not want to create an issue.We arranged for my wall to be increased however when I wrote to the field owner advising her that the builder would require access onto the field with the sole purpose of laying the bricks on the field side, she has refused them access.My builders have tried really hard to work from my garden but it is proving really difficult for them. what are my legal rights?
Christina MacDonald - 15-Jun-18 @ 9:01 PM
Verity - Your Question:
I have lost bed at my property for over thirty years with no neighbours to back and right side of me and was told when buying the land to the back and side was land that could never be built on. Cut long story short planning permission was granted to the side of mine for 13 social houses. While these were being built I have put up with lots of problems, noise, horrendous dust and damage tomy boundary fence. The builders want to remove my boundary fence and put up their own but as my fence was well covered by shrubs mainly prickly planting to stop anyone from climbing over and also the shrubs were full of birds some nesting I refused this. The builders have since dug out so close to my fence I can see daylight under it and the land behind is lower they also hit and pushed my fence with the digger scoop which they used to just rip all my shrubs of the rear of my fence. Now I have a fence that’s falling over a huge amount of shrubs that are all dead and idle promises to put things right. I’ve now had to have the builder round to look at all this and he said they were in the right removing all the foliage and digging out right up to my fence as it’s their land and also as my fence posts weren’t that strong it’s not their fault the fence has fallen like it has. Who do I go to for help and what rights do I have to ask them to repair the damage. They even fastened with big screws and tied things to one of my corner posts all without permission but told me they didn’t need it as my fence formed the boundary. I’m exhausted with it it all

Our Response:
If the fence belongs to you, the builders have no right to touch it or attach anything to it. First try writing to the company to claim some kind of recompense for the damage. If that doesn't provide you with a solution, you may have to claim damages via the small claims court.
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Jun-18 @ 3:06 PM
I have lost bed at my property for over thirty years with no neighbours to back and right side of me and was told when buying the land to the back and side was land that could never be built on. Cut long story short planning permission was granted to the side of mine for 13 social houses. While these were being built I have put up with lots of problems, noise, horrendous dust and damage to my boundary fence. The builders want to remove my boundary fence and put up their own but as my fence was well covered by shrubs mainly prickly planting to stop anyone from climbing over and also the shrubs were full of birds some nesting I refused this. The builders have since dug out so close to my fence I can see daylight under it and the land behind is lower they also hit and pushed my fence with the digger scoop which they used to just rip all my shrubs of the rear of my fence. Now I have a fence that’s falling over a huge amount of shrubs that are all dead and idle promises to put things right. I’ve now had to have the builder round to look at all this and he said they were in the right removing all the foliage and digging out right up to my fence as it’s their land and also as my fence posts weren’t that strong it’s not their fault the fence has fallen like it has. Who do I go to for help and what rights do I have to ask them to repair the damage. They even fastened with big screws and tied things to one of my corner posts all without permission but told me they didn’t need it as my fence formed the boundary. I’m exhausted with it it all
Verity - 15-Jun-18 @ 6:47 AM
I am trying to find advice for a neighbour / privacy issue, I live in Scotland. My neighbour told me he was putting a ramp to his property for a wheelchair his wife now needs, he doesn't need planning permission. I assumed te ramp would be put where his existing steps are, never assume. The digging started last week to my horror right next to our wall that devides the two properties,this will mean thatwhen being used the people accessing the ramp will on reaching the top come right in front of my living room window.surely this cannot be acceptable under privacy laws, the advice I require is who do I go to?. Is there any legislation that would argue my case to privacy?.
Frannie - 12-Jun-18 @ 1:01 AM
Permitted development Class G - chimney, flues etc. Neighbour infill of car-port asked for permission to 'overhang' our property with a small flue contraption. Being good neighbours we said that would be OK but that at no point would we ever consider the structure being on our land. We were assured two things. That it would only overhang and he demonstrated some height (he's a tallish fellow) by bending down and raising his hand to about 8 inches to a foot. We were away and when we returned this massive supporting structure IS BUILT ON OUR LAND and is about 6ft wide about 7ft high and with a black metal chimney going up another 8ft on their side elevation. They have also taken out fence panels, which are propped up against our side elevation wall (we are detached they are not) the gravel boards have been destroyed and the concrete fence posts destroyed also. I think they have broken them. We did say they could have access to do the work, again, in the spirit of neighbourliness, but at no point did we say that they could effect their work and in so doing destroy our property and, possibly, effect the resale value. I'm going up to 80 years of age. I don't like liars and I certainly don't like people who think they can run rough shod over what had been agreed because we would, and should have said, No. Another part of our 6ft fence has been cut up and is now at an angle. This was supposed to be a temporary measure, but looks as though it will now be permanent as the construction for the flue - 4inches away from our guttering on our new conservatory, prevents our fence line from being put back to what it was before they started the infill and the structure for the flue. I'm devastated. I realise that it is a permitted development, but on land belonging to someone else, you have got to be joking, and I don't find it funny in the least. I'm losing sleep and have had to make an initial appointment with a solicitor. That they did this at a very opportune time when we were away smacks of knowing what they were about all the way through, and I have no doubt that they stood on our conservatory roof (a solid one) or effected access by climbing over our wrought iron padlocked gate to do the work. I can see no other way in which they could have completed the task.
distraught - 5-Jun-18 @ 5:25 AM
Mike - Your Question:
My title deeds give a right of overhang does this right carry with it an implied right to enter neighbours land for maintenance purposes?

Our Response:
No not necessarily. In general there may be a right of access for essential repairs under the above act anyway.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-May-18 @ 3:39 PM
My title deeds give a right of overhang does this rightcarry with it an implied right to enter neighbours land for maintenance purposes?
Mike - 12-May-18 @ 11:03 AM
Fairy - Your Question:
We live in a house which is surrounded by our neighbours land, and we have a legal right (in the deeds) to use his driveway to access our house.Unfortunately we have almost no land, so any workman attending our property need to park their cans on the neighbours land, next to our gates. This in no way blocks the neighbours access to his house or garden.Our neighbour is becoming increasingly difficult and I fear he may say they can not park their vans any more.They are parked in concrete so not causing any damage, and are here for 6 days in total whilst we have a new bathroom.Is this parking included as ‘access’ and can the neighbour withdraw this permission, either verbally or otherwise?

Our Response:
Access usual means "access" when referred to in title deeds, i.e to get from one place to another. Perhaps you can give the neighbours a start and end date for any work you need carrying out. If you have workmen attending regularly, we can see how this could become tiresome for the neighbour.
ProblemNeighbours - 16-Apr-18 @ 1:00 PM
We live in a house which is surrounded by our neighbours land, and we have a legal right (in the deeds) to use his driveway to access our house. Unfortunately we have almost no land, so any workman attending our property need to park their cans on the neighbours land, next to our gates. This in no way blocks the neighbours access to his house or garden. Our neighbour is becoming increasingly difficult and I fear he may say they can not park their vans any more. They are parked in concrete so not causing any damage, and are here for 6 days in total whilst we have a new bathroom. Is this parking included as ‘access’ and can the neighbour withdraw this permission, either verbally or otherwise?
Fairy - 13-Apr-18 @ 12:59 PM
The previous owners of my house tried to put a window in the back wall that over looks the parking of the business behind the house.The owner of the business put up a wooden casement over the window to prevent use.I have asked him if I can install a fix closed opaque window (with a trickle vent) in order to allow much needed light and to help with the airflow in this room (1820;s building that needs venting due to no damp course).He has refused even though the window is only onto the parking area - nowhere near the offices and is already overlooked by my neighbours by a clear glass window.I understand I don't need planning for a window smaller than 1 metre square but will go to council any way.If they grant or say I can go ahead can he be made to remove the casement?
Jazz - 12-Apr-18 @ 9:37 PM
Katie - Your Question:
I live in a detached house and share the boundary line with my neighbours. There is a fence which I put in on the boundary line. My neighbours got plans approved to build a 2 storey extension which comes right up to the boundary line. I had objected to the plans as the extension is massive and will block the sunlight from my house. In order to build it they need to come onto my property. In fact they would need to dig up my garden to put the footings in and these would come onto my property. I refused and said there would be no access from my side. I am pretty sure of the answer after reading the information on this site but I would like to ask if they can enforce access to my property to build the extension? Thankyou

Our Response:
Your neighbours would need to make an application to the court for access to your property under the Access to Neighbouring Land legislation. The act is mainly designed for essential maintenance/repairs access so we don't imagine your neighbours will succeed but this would be for the courts to decide.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Apr-18 @ 12:18 PM
I live in a detached house and share the boundary line with my neighbours. There is a fence which I put in on the boundary line. My neighbours got plans approved to build a 2 storey extension which comes right up to the boundary line. I had objected to the plans as the extension is massive and will block the sunlight from my house. In order to build it they need to come onto my property. In fact they would need to dig up my garden to put the footings in and these would come onto my property. I refused and said there would be no access from my side. I am pretty sure of the answer after reading the information on this site but I would like to ask if they can enforce access to my property to build the extension?Thankyou
Katie - 7-Apr-18 @ 10:45 AM
Do we have to inform our antisocial neighbor we intend to remove our fence panels ( which she uses to keep her dogs on her side) to paint them. If we just remove them her dogs will run all over our garden again. It is our fence, on our property. Many thanks for any advice. Redyakyak
Redyakyak - 15-Mar-18 @ 6:07 PM
Con_cerned - Your Question:
Our neighour carried out roof replacement - a year after we finished our own building works. Only problem the tiles do not match and they had to do a lot of work to complete their side - in doing so removed a strip of our tiles and have finished their work and refused to reinstate our tiles. They say we held up repairs. We now have to pay for scaffolding and a worker to carry out repairs approx £1000. The scaffolding may cross their boundary. They have been very unneighbourly where I feel we tried everything to keep them happy during our building works. The cost of the scaffolding is prohibitive - where do we stand in terms of recovering the cost for the work and erecting scaffolding?

Our Response:
If the neighbour refuses to contribute, you will have to use the small claims court.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Mar-18 @ 2:02 PM
Our neighour carried out roof replacement - a year after we finished our own building works. Only problem the tiles do not match and they had to do a lot of work to complete their side - in doing so removed a strip of our tiles and have finished their work and refused to reinstate our tiles. They say we held up repairs. We now have to pay for scaffolding and a worker to carry out repairs approx £1000. The scaffolding may cross their boundary. They have been very unneighbourly where I feel we tried everything to keep them happy during our building works.The cost of the scaffolding is prohibitive - where do we stand in terms of recovering the cost for the work and erecting scaffolding?
Con_cerned - 12-Mar-18 @ 1:51 PM
Ferguson - Your Question:
Hi, my neighbour is building a ground floor extension. We signed a party wall agreement, but are now very unhappy, as the builders have broken some of my fence, trespassed, etc. I don't want to give the builders access to my garden, as I'm concerned about the damage they might do. The neighbour will only correspond via his solicitor and has accused me of harassment, as I emailed him four times to ask him, nicely to speak to his builders. However, I can't afford a solicitor and I'm scared to write to them myself in case I say the wrong thing. Do I have to allow the builders ion to my land, even though I have grave concerns.Thank you

Our Response:
You only have to allow access for essential maintenance. It might be worth popping to Citizens' Advice (if you can't afford a solicitor) and asking them to help you draw up an agreement with the builders and neighbours saying that access will be allowed but within specified time limits and that any damage will be repaired/compensated for etc (a legal professional will know how to word this).
ProblemNeighbours - 28-Feb-18 @ 10:31 AM
Hi, my neighbour is building a ground floor extension. We signed a party wall agreement, but are now very unhappy, as the builders have broken some of my fence, trespassed, etc. I don't want to give the builders access to my garden, as I'm concerned about the damage they might do. The neighbour will only correspond via his solicitor and has accused me of harassment, as I emailed him four times to ask him, nicely to speak to his builders. However, I can't afford a solicitor and I'm scared to write to them myself in case I say the wrong thing. Do I have to allow the builders ion to my land, even though I have grave concerns. Thank you
Ferguson - 26-Feb-18 @ 2:39 PM
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