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Letter Template: Neighbour Blocking Shared Access Way

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 17 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Shared Access Neighbour Restricting

Many older properties share access rights either across a rear garden or via a shared passageway enabling access to individual rear gardens. Details of the nature of access will usually be described in your title deeds.

In general neighbours treat these shared areas responsibly and they work well as access routes. We do however, receive plenty of comments from people experiencing significant problems. So if your neighbour hasn't considered that access for a pram or bin is required, or they're simply unaware that the area must be kept clear, what can you do?

Talk to Your Neighbour

Our advice as always, is just pop round and have a polite word. If your neighbour's never in when you knock, or you don't feel comfortable talking to them, start with an informal note. If this does not have the desired effect, you might want to consider a more formal letter advising them that you may consider further action if the problem is not addressed.

To help you, we've provided sample templates for both an informal note and a subsequent letter below:

Initial informal note:

Dear [name]

Just a quick note regarding our shared access way. I've/We've noticed [bin bags/ a bicycle/ chairs etc] is/are currently restricting the access.
If these are yours would you mind keeping them somewhere else? If not, we'll do some further investigations to find out who they belong to!

Thanks and see you soon

[Name] [Your house number]

If this does not resolve the problem send a more formal letter as in this example:

Letter to Neighbour About Blocking a Shared Access

[Your Address]
[Neighbour's name]
[Address / 'Delivered by hand']

[Date]

Dear [Neighbour's name]/[If unknown, just address as 'Dear Neighbour'],

Re: Shared access way

I/we live at [address], next door and I/we contacted you recently about problems using our shared access way.

You may still be unaware of this problem but [your bicycle/bin bags etc] is/are preventing me/us from accessing the [area e.g. garage] of my/our property.

There is a legal right for residents of both our properties to use the shared access way. In addition there are covenants in the title deeds of our properties which determine how the shared access way can be used.

By blocking the shared access way, you are in breach of these covenants. I would therefore be entitled to seek an injunction to prevent blockage of the access way, and financial compensation for the period during which I have been unable to use it.

I am keen to resolve this amicably; we are after all neighbours! I would therefore be grateful if you could avoid blocking the shared access way, at any time, going forwards.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Kind regards,[Your signature]
[Your name]

If you'd like more information on dealing with more larger obstacles blocking access routes read our guide How to deal with environmental nuisances caused by a neighbour

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I own a semi detached house with a 6 metre long single storey extension at the rear, next door has a 3 metre extension - there's a gap of about 70cm between both extensions. The woman next door has become a nuisance neighbour since her planning application was refused by the council and dismissed on appeal. My neighbour in her wisdom has decided to block off our access to the side of our extension. She's put in a fence post and bits of timber in the gap in order to block us off. Due to this construction I am unable to access the side of my building for maintenance etc. Does the law treat this matter in the same way as overhanging branches ? Am I within my rights to dig up the posts and remove the obstructing fence from my land?
Jimmy - 17-May-18 @ 10:06 AM
AMF - Your Question:
Thank you for advice on shared access through back path. I have contacted Land a Registry and have obtained the title deeds which clearly state there is shared access at the back. Have contacted my neighbour and am willing to come to a compromise on the gate as long as I have a key.

Our Response:
That's great, we're glad you have managed to reach a solution.
ProblemNeighbours - 16-May-18 @ 2:23 PM
Thank you for advice on shared access through back path. I have contacted Land a Registry and have obtained the title deeds which clearly state there is shared access at the back. Have contacted my neighbour and am willing to come to a compromise on the gate as long as I have a key.
AMF - 15-May-18 @ 1:12 AM
AMF - Your Question:
I have lived in my terraced house for over 30 years and have had access to the back of my garden through a pathway. There are 12 houses on the road and we all have shared access to our back gardens through a pathway. All the gardens are fenced off and have individual back doors. The pathway runs from the front of the houses between number 6 and number 7 and then along the back. I live at number 2. My neighbour at number 7 wants to install a gate at street level to prevent any access at all and hold onto the key. He has had some problems with rubbish being dumped and has offered that any of the other households could have a key if they help pay for the the gates. I am worried that if he goes ahead I won’t have access to my garden from the back or that if I accept the arrangement by paying for key it won’t have any legal status if I want to sell the house. Can’t find the title deeds as have been here so long and worried that if he goes ahead there will be nothing I can do - any advice.?

Our Response:
You may be able to request a copy of your deeds from the Land Registry. Even if you can't find the deeds, the access is clearly there and the residents have a right to use it. One householder cannot take it upon themselves and erect gates unless all other resident with access are given a key. He cannot say he's only giving outkeys to those who pay. You can take legal action if this goes ahead before an mutual solution is negotiated.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-May-18 @ 1:49 PM
I have lived in my terraced house for over 30 years and have had access to the back of my garden through a pathway. There are 12 houses on the road and we all have shared access to our back gardens through a pathway. All the gardens are fenced off and have individual back doors. The pathway runs from the front of the houses between number 6 and number 7 and then along the back. I live at number 2. My neighbour at number 7 wants to install a gate at street level to prevent any access at all and hold onto the key. He has had some problems with rubbish being dumped and has offered that any of the other households could have a key if they help pay for the the gates. I am worried that if he goes ahead I won’t have access to my garden from the back or that if I accept the arrangement by paying for key it won’t have any legal status if I want to sell the house. Can’t find the title deeds as have been here so long and worried that if he goes ahead there will be nothing I can do - any advice.?
AMF - 14-May-18 @ 12:07 AM
Mi - Your Question:
We moved into my childhood home terraced house with a gated access to the alleyway around the back of the property, the gate was fitted by consent by council scheme and is being ran by end of terrace neighbour who thinks he owns the whole alleyway, anyway cutting storey short we need access it back of our property for matenance,we unfortunately left our key in gate whilst attending a hospital appointment and want another key however he won't give us one ,unless we pay for another new lock is this correct??

Our Response:
Well this depends on where your key has gone? Have you compromised security by allowing the key to fall into someone else's hands?
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Apr-18 @ 11:18 AM
We moved into my childhood home terraced house with a gated access to the alleyway around the back of the property, the gate was fitted by consent by council scheme and is being ran by end of terrace neighbour who thinks he owns the whole alleyway, anyway cutting storey short we need access it back of our property for matenance,we unfortunately left our key in gate whilst attending a hospital appointment and want another key however he won't give us one ,unless we pay for another new lock is this correct??
Mi - 24-Apr-18 @ 2:08 PM
We have a shared covered alleyway between our home and a neighbour.We have lived here 9 years and the first 6 were find as both the neighbour and ourselves used the area to store recycled bins. 3 years ago new people moved in with small kids and asked us to remove the bins as the wanted to use the side door access as they had a pushchair.We obliged. Recently they have used the area many times for storing wood/ plaster board etc as they have been doing up the home.We have never complained. This doesn't seem to stop them using the pushchair. A few times we have left some things in the alley. Mostly just a gardening waste bag so its out of the rain.Every single times it has been dragged out of the alley and left in the open. I have today put it back in the alley with a note asking for itnot be moved. If they move it again what is our best course of action?
JB - 19-Apr-18 @ 2:53 PM
Hello, we have a common access road shared between us and another home to our lower right. We had full use of the road for more than twenty years as there was no other house built at the time so sharing the road was a non issue. Well we moved away to another state and our son was renting our original home. Another house was built that also had the right to the common access road. This other home owner put up posts across the common access road and cables strung across the road to prevent us from accessing the road. Our son took this guy to court, the judge ruled and told the other neighbor to take down the cables and posts to allow us free access. The neighbor then informed our son that if he wanted everything taken out HE would have to do it himself. Needless to say the posts never came down and cables are still across the road and it's been several years since the court order. This other neighbor has mental problems and to upset him is to find a pet poisoned, tools missing etc.. I'm sure you get the picture. We are at our wits end with this guy. What can we do legally with an unstable, unpredictable nut case of a neighbor? We want our road back but we are tired of the whole Norman Bates routine.HELP!!!
Matty - 31-Mar-18 @ 11:30 AM
We have a shared drive with our elderly neighbour. She has recently needed a care plan as she cannot remember things and is unable to care for herself. We both have a garage at the rear and our property has room for parking one car in front without blocking the access. Her drive has no parking space in front of her garage. The single width drive is in between the two houses with the shared part at the front being used to access our respective parking in front of our houses. Her carers are considerate but when they are not working her family cover this. They regularly park on the shared drive and block us in when we park at the back or are blocking us out when we return home. We have challenged them but they ignore us, mock us and challenge us as to why we want to park at the rear. What can we do? I have lost my temper once and shouted at them. It’s getting worse, but what can we do other than check the deeds?
Bex - 5-Mar-18 @ 8:25 PM
Von - Your Question:
We share access ways with a neighbour he has asked for us to acknowledge them yet he is parking on it. He is not acknowledging our rights of access how can we take out an injunction do we need a Solicitor or can we do this ourselves and how. Do you know how much this would cost. We understand the covenant 100 percent

Our Response:
As long as you have sufficient evidence of the nature of the covenant and that the neighbour in reach then we don't see any reason why you cannot do this without a solicitor. It's definitely worth looking at alternative dispute resolution/mediation before resorting to the courts. We don't know what the court fees would be unfortunately.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Mar-18 @ 11:41 AM
We share access ways with a neighbour he has asked for us to acknowledge them yet he is parking on it. He is not acknowledging our rights of access how can we take out an injunction do we need a Solicitor or can we do this ourselves and how. Do you know how much this would cost. We understand the covenant 100 percent
Von - 2-Mar-18 @ 8:11 AM
Pleasehelpcornwall - Your Question:
Our house has right of access across our neighbour’s property in order to reach our garage. This right of access is in our deeds (having been purchased by our home’s previous owners). We would like to knock down our garage and instead just park in the open. Our neighbour has said they don’t want to see our cars on this driveway, so will build a fence with gates in it where our garage doors currently are. We don’t want this. So while we would still technically have access, our lives will be difficult, having to get out of our cars to open these gates every time we come and go. Our deeds are very vague and simply say we have ‘a right of way at all times with or without vehicles’. Also, the plan accompanying our deeds do not say who owns this boundary. Do we have any rights to stop this fence and gates being built?

Our Response:
Without seeing the details of the access rights it's difficult for us to comment. We don't really see the difference between putting a car in a garage (existing arrangement) and putting it behind gates.
ProblemNeighbours - 30-Jan-18 @ 10:57 AM
Our house has right of access across our neighbour’s property in order to reach our garage. This right of access is in our deeds (having been purchased by our home’s previous owners). We would like to knock down our garage and instead just park in the open. Our neighbour has said they don’t want to see our cars on this driveway, so will build a fence with gates in it where our garage doors currently are. We don’t want this. So while we would still technically have access, our lives will be difficult, having to get out of our cars to open these gates every time we come and go. Our deeds are very vague and simply say we have ‘a right of way at all times with or without vehicles’. Also, the plan accompanying our deeds do not say who owns this boundary. Do we have any rights to stop this fence and gates being built?
Pleasehelpcornwall - 28-Jan-18 @ 9:13 AM
Samreen Choudrey - Your Question:
I have a shared access way.used for 15 years.my new neighbour had blocked my access by inserting a gate with a lock at the entrance.i don't have the key. He doesn't live at the property. Has several tenants, I cannt access my garden gate.asked solicitors to help, written my neighbours many letters. I've not been able to resolve the matter.regards

Our Response:
This is a matter that a solicitor should be able to help you with. What has your solicitor done so far? If your deeds say that you have right of access then you can take a civil action via the courts to get the access reinstated. If your deeds do not refer to any access rights, then it will be more difficult. A right of way can be made official if it's been used for 20 years or more without the owner's permission.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Jan-18 @ 3:24 PM
I have a shared access way .used for 15 years .my new neighbour had blocked my access by inserting a gate with a lock at the entrance.i don't have the key. He doesn't live at the property. Has several tenants, I cannt access my garden gate .asked solicitors to help, written my neighbours many letters. I've not been able to resolve the matter.regards
Samreen Choudrey - 9-Jan-18 @ 12:27 AM
Boundary advise - my father is having issues entering and existing his property at the rear of his home. The two next door neighbours are parking outside of their garages as they claim this is their land. However they are blocking my fathers access, so he is unable drive out of his property as they are blocking him in.We are keen to get this matter resolved and the citizens advise beau have provided us wither details in order to assist.
Concerned daughter - 5-Jan-18 @ 8:44 PM
Ric - Your Question:
I am a property owner My legal right to a shared access way is being blocked my a neighbour, also the property owner He is very verbally aggressive.I have sent a letter asking him to remove old cars & barriers but he has not acknowledged it, what are my options moving forward?

Our Response:
If your neighbour is refusing to cooperate you really have no option but to look at alternative dispute resolution or court action.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Nov-17 @ 12:32 PM
I am a property owner My legal right to a shared access way is being blocked my a neighbour, also the property owner He is very verbally aggressive. I have sent a letter asking him to remove old cars & barriers but he has not acknowledged it, what are my options moving forward?
Ric - 29-Nov-17 @ 5:28 AM
I am writing to discuss that my next door neighbours have put up a garden door beside my garden door in our shared drive. My garden door opens inwards into my garden and my neighbours garden door is opening out into the drive blocking my garden door. The door blocks me from getting out of my garden when they have there garden door open. My neighbor did not ask me if he could block my access. They think it is totally fine to have there gate open into the drive. I have asked builders and they have said it is wrong.
Mandy - 11-Jun-17 @ 10:49 PM
In our garden we have a well gate to provide access to the shared well. The majority of the weel is on my neoghbours side but the hand water pump is on my side and according to my neighbours they own the actuall metal pump. The pump has not worked for years as it has not been maintained.. we have only owned the house a year. How do i stand on surley therefore my neighbours dont have a right at the moment to access my garden as the well does not even work anymore?
Well099 - 4-Feb-17 @ 2:55 PM
Paulo - Your Question:
I own one of three private houses which are all accessed from the public highway from a private "access way" as described in the deeds. The two houses prior to mine I believe are servient tenements, and I am the dominant tenement. I have access to my property from the "access way" which runs effectively through the front gardens of the two preceding properties. Both of these properties have three separate parking places attached to the "access way" but differentiated from it by a concrete border strip. The whole "access way is bordered by concrete border strips to show its exact route and size and is shown clearly on the plans and shaded to differentiate it from the house driveways/parking spaces. In the deeds and on the plan, it does not say you cannot park on the "access way" but neither does it show it as a parking place, which are shown on the plan by a "V" symbol. My immediate neighbour restricts or blocks this "access way" frequently even though there are parking spaces free for her to use on her driveway. After several heated discussions regarding this issue she argues that "Its my land, I can do what I want". On almost every occasion there is no need for her to park and obstruct the driveway, she could use her driveway. She deliberately makes it very difficult for us to enter or leave our property by seriously reducing the width of the "access way" and prevents delivery vans from gaining access. Her family and friends have also taken to restricting the driveway even though they could park on the public road 75ft away. My questions are, can she seriously and maliciously restrict the width of the "access way" and prevent us enjoying our property, do I have a right to be able to use all of the width of the "access way" which is approximately 16ft wide. I have a massive amount of photographic and video evidence which even shows her on one occasion after parking her car and locking it she returns to it a minute later and without moving it, turns the steering so the front wheels protrude making passing even more difficult. I look forward to your advice and assistance in this matter.

Our Response:
Check your deeds - this will clarify the access rights - and if necessary show your neighbour a copy (hers will say the same thing). Unfortunately, assuming there is no management company/separate owner of the road area, there is no real way you can enforce these rights other than via the courts (a solicitor's letter might suffice).
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Jan-17 @ 2:35 PM
I own one of three private houses which are all accessed from the public highway from a private "access way" as described in the deeds. The two houses prior to mine I believe are servient tenements, and I am the dominant tenement. I have access to my property from the "access way" which runs effectively through the front gardens of the two preceding properties. Both of these properties have three separate parking places attached to the "access way" but differentiated from it by a concrete border strip. The whole "access way is bordered by concrete border strips to show its exact route and size and is shown clearly on the plans and shaded to differentiate it from the house driveways/parking spaces. In the deeds and on the plan, it does not say you cannot park on the "access way" but neither does it show it as a parking place, which are shown on the plan by a "V" symbol. My immediate neighbour restricts or blocks this "access way" frequently even though there are parking spaces free for her to use on her driveway. After several heated discussions regarding this issue she argues that "Its my land, I can do what I want". On almost every occasion there is no need for her to park and obstruct the driveway, she could use her driveway. She deliberately makes it very difficult for us to enter or leave our property by seriously reducing the width of the "access way" and prevents delivery vans from gaining access. Her family and friends have also taken to restricting the driveway even though they could park on the public road 75ft away. My questions are, can she seriously and maliciously restrict the width of the "access way" and prevent us enjoying our property, do I have a right to be able to use all of the width of the "access way" which is approximately 16ft wide. I have a massive amount of photographic and video evidence which even shows her on one occasion after parking her car and locking it she returns to it a minute later and without moving it, turns the steering so the front wheels protrude making passing even more difficult. I look forward to your advice and assistance in this matter.
Paulo - 5-Jan-17 @ 8:12 PM
M - Your Question:
RE: Shared Access.My neighbour has shared access to his property via a side passage way.en route he has access to my back garden.However, I feel he may be abusing the legal right of way in the form of indirect harassment.This type of harassment is / has been ignored by the authorities but the local council has taken note of the neighbors behaviour with regards to trespassing / boundaries.Further, the lack of privacy & intrusive behaviour preventing garden maintenance is becoming a problem/ nuisance.Any advice is welcome.

Our Response:
Access is exactly that...it should not be used for purposes other than transit from one place to the next. Are you able to fence/gate/screen the main part of your garden off to prevent this?
ProblemNeighbours - 30-Nov-16 @ 10:52 AM
RE: Shared Access. My neighbour has shared access to his property via a side passage way.en route he has access to my back garden . However, I feel he may be abusing the legal right of way in the form of indirect harassment. This type of harassment is / has been ignored by the authorities but the local council has taken note of the neighbors behaviour with regards to trespassing / boundaries. Further, the lack of privacy & intrusive behaviour preventing garden maintenance is becoming a problem/ nuisance. Any advice is welcome.
M - 29-Nov-16 @ 2:03 AM
Alex - Your Question:
I want to re design my garden.My title deeds show I must provide access to my neighbour. Currently there is a gate which allows access into my back garden.My new design involves a fence which will enclose my garden but allow access behind the fence.Am I still meeting the conditions of allowing access

Our Response:
It's not clear from your description but we assume as long as your neighbour can access their property (or wherever access it given to), with a pushchair, wheelie bin etc it should be fine. Discuss it with the neighbour before going ahead, they will be able to check their deedstoo.
ProblemNeighbours - 7-Nov-16 @ 11:26 AM
I want to re design my garden. My title deeds show I must provide access to my neighbour. Currently there is a gate which allows access into my back garden. My new design involves a fence which will enclose my garden but allow access behind the fence. Am I still meeting the conditions of allowing access
Alex - 5-Nov-16 @ 8:27 AM
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