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Letter Template: Neighbour Blocking Shared Access Way

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 20 Mar 2019 | 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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[Add a Comment]
I live in a cul-de-sac. There are 6 terraced houses. I live in one of the mid terraced houses. I have about 10' of front garden lawn and so are my neighbours on either side. beyond the front grass lawn the area is tar mac. We all have a car parking space. There are no lines to separate the spaces. Also we have an extra space on the opposite side of the tar mac- grounds. My neighbour has putup a 3' wooden fence separating our car park spaces. I find it hard to open my car door. The fence aligns with my front door which looks awful too.Although I have about 10' garden in the front it is an inconvenience too. The car park is used by all 6 residents. Can he put up a fence on the tar mac? What are my rights.
pushpee - 20-Mar-19 @ 1:38 PM
I live in the upper flat of two and access is via a front gate but my neighbour keeps wedging in a block of wood so his dogs don't get out ( he lets them both roam free unsupervised).The Fire brigade paid a visit recently after Grenfell and said all evacuation points should be unhindered but it takes me forever to undo the wood so I can get into my front door. This must be a health & safety issue - surely human life is more valuable than a dogs life?
Janeyb - 13-Mar-19 @ 4:50 PM
Hi There I own a property which I usually rent out, however due to divorce I am selling the property. It is a semi detached house, with a driveway at the side. The neighbours driveway runs right across the front of my property’s front garden I have had a few people like it but don’t like the way next doors driveway runs right across the front of my property, as the neighbour parks his car, on his driveway, but right in front of my property’s living room window. Is there any law to say he cannot park right outside my property’s window and blocking the view? Even though it’s his driveway ????. Thanks
Dee - 9-Mar-19 @ 1:22 PM
Hello there.I own a shared top landing flat situated next to one other, access through stairs.Properties are both owned and let by landlord's. Having approached the neighbour then landlord, asking firstly not to make the landing a storage area for a bike, garden seat, bin bags, table and chair, said neighbour is now being difficult by placing items at either side of entrance at top of stairs, giving as little area of a 2.5ft gap to walk through. Can the tenant be told to clear the access and by how much clearance? I have with little response, asked the landlord to take action but if done, the situation is now getting worse by tems being placed nearer the stairs.Where do I stand with this?Many thanks for your attention to the above.
telegraphist - 6-Mar-19 @ 11:13 AM
We share an accessway with 2 other detached properties, it was designed so that we could all manoeuvre our vehicles so as to drive on and off forward due to the close proximity to a main junction and traffic lights. Both our neighbours think it’s theres as extra parking and the original builder has since provided us with tracking of all properties to prove the area is only large enough to move a car around when not obstructed and our deeds say not to obstruct. Both properties are currently being marketed and buyers are being told that both have more parking than they actually have which would greatly interfere with our rights and difficulty in getting to and from our property. It actually affects us more than the other 2. What can we do to stop this as the estate agents will not change the particulars on either.
Angelb - 28-Feb-19 @ 9:51 PM
We live in social housing bungalows, and the area between ours and next door is gated, to reduce unsocial gatherings. For the past 6 months one of our other neighbours has been using the gated space as their own private garage (it measures approximately 15 ft sq), but this means that we can no longer take our bins from the front to the back when doing the garden, or even wheel my disabled mother through in her wheelchair, as it's completely blocked with motorbikes. We've tried speaking to the social landlord, but each time we phone, it's a different person and they don't understand the problem, and haven't been out to view it either. Is my neighbour allowed to simply claim this space as a private garage and what if anything, should my landlord be doing about it? Thanks in advance.
HJohnson - 22-Feb-19 @ 7:08 PM
Myself and my neighbour both live in ex local authorities properties and I have a legal right of access from my back garden around his property to put out bins and get them back in as well as access for workmen to get round to work on my property. This access has been since houses were built 50-60 years ago and my neighbour has put up a barrier at the side of his house and across the gate to my access stating he doesn't want anyone cutting through his gardens. I am disabled and dragging bins up 5 steps and through the house to put out is not easy, can he block my access
Liz - 25-Jan-19 @ 10:56 PM
Halo,I need advise I bought land where my land agreement shows that I have an access road but when I started building process my neighbor who at same time was among the witnesses claimed that she bought the road hence denying me access. So what should I do.thanks
Dav - 23-Dec-18 @ 3:56 PM
Hi thank you in advance for your considered thoughts on my dilemma. We have recently had a new elderly neighbor move in. Our property is one of four others that share access to a privately demised parking courtyard each property has a garage and one parking space demised in front of each garage door. Car circulation within the parking courtyard is very tight and it relies on all residents parking considerately and mutual respect by not obstructing the shared access route in. My issue is the son and daughter of the new neighbor are each parking their cars a Discovery and larger MPV style car in front on the garage which blocks and restricts clear access to my car park space and garage. To add insult to injury the land immediately in front of my parking space where they park obstructively is demised to us but provides 'shared access rights' I wouldn't have been too bothered if they had the common decency to ask me first if it was ok to park there temporarily but they haven't bothered so I'm a bit disappointed. I'd like to nip the inconsiderate double parking out quickly and appreciate any words of advice or wisdom before doing so.
Fishman - 13-Nov-18 @ 11:00 PM
Hi I live in a council house in a row of 8 properties all with defined fenced boundaries and footpath from road to front door and rear door apart from ourselves and elderly neighbor. Because I am disabled I requested permission to make a hardstanding to enable me direct access to my car, as it’s approx 70ft from footpath and main road to my front door. This was agreed and the council replaced the damaged 2 rows of our slabs and the one row for next door (their other row had been grown over by their lawn ) .since this day the neighbours family park on the new driveway which council have declared access only to our hardstanding ...they constantly block us and we have had to involve police due to neighbours grandson running me over with his car which he was washing and ignored my requests to move...since then they had had visits and letters all they still repeatedly block us ...I have contacted council asking for boundary to reinstate the fence (at our cost)and it’s taking forever I just want to divide the access only driveway and prevent any more hostility. But they are having problems as the land these houses were built on was bought by the council as a “Lot” and there were no official boundaries just a large plot ...
Mumsky - 9-Nov-18 @ 9:01 AM
Hello I have a alleyway between my house and my neighbours that we share so we can both get to are back gardens I wanted to know the rules of keeping it clear as they keep putting there bikes and rubbish in the way witch means when i leave my house though ally way I constantly have to move there stuff and when i do they shout at me its my ally way to I have spoken to them many times on with my kids n puchchair I have to use my back door as puchchair won't fit thought front door and asked them to keep ally way clear so i can get in and out of my property am I right in thinking it should be kept clear ?
Tam - 28-Sep-18 @ 8:07 AM
Hello, I was hoping to get some advice. We have just bought a property and want to refurbish. As part of our plans we want to add a toilet to our bathroom and one to the ensuite in the master bedroom. Both rooms are on the right side of the property which is a detached house and the waste pipe is an open pipe that is going into an open gully and into the manhole in our neighbour's garden on the right. the open gully system is also causing rising damp on the right side of the house. (currently all our toilet is downstairs on left side of the house). Our neighbour does not want to allow us access to do this. They are saying that its their manhole and therefore we arent allowed to do anything. They also dont want us to do any refurbishment to the property because they are worried that we will sell up after we refurbish and that the advised 4 inch pipes we need are "ugly". We feel the latter points are unreasonable. There is clear damage happening to our property. Not to mention the rodents that are coming into our house through the pipe. We are unable to connect to our own waste pipes/manhole as they are on the left side of the house. Our property and the other 4 on our street are exactly the same and each neighbours waste from the right is directed to the neighbour's manhole. So we are carrying next door's waste and so on. I have checked with Thames water and the current connection is definitely incorrect. But can our neighbours stop us updating the current system. They are suggesting we plumb the waste through our house. and that we should move the existing pipes all together even though they have been there for decades. Any advice would bemuch appreciated. Thanks
APT - 21-Sep-18 @ 11:51 AM
Charles - Your Question:
We have a shared drive between 6 houses, that allows access to the rear of the properties and garages. The house next to the driveway has put a trailer at the top making it very tight, they are planning to put a wall along there boundary. I have been to the land registry and got the title register and plan, which state that there is right of way for cars on to the back and this needs to be keep clear. If a wall is built then no cars will be able to get round, he is arguing that it’s his boundary and he can build one. On the plan, it has a dashed line along where he wants to put a wall, so although he maybe sticking to his boundary with a wall, he will be blocking the right of way as stated in the title register. This will mean none of the houses will be able to get a car up and into their garages. How can stop the right of way from being blocked.

Our Response:
You will need to apply to the courts to prevent the construction fo the wall citing the right of way in your deeds.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Sep-18 @ 12:50 PM
We have a shared drive between 6 houses, that allows access to the rear of the properties and garages. The house next to the driveway has put a trailer at the top making it very tight, they are planning to put a wall along there boundary. I have been to the land registry and got the title register and plan, which state that there is right of way for cars on to the back and this needs to be keep clear. If a wall is built then no cars will be able to get round, he is arguing that it’s his boundary and he can build one. On the plan, it has a dashed line along where he wants to put a wall, so although he maybe sticking to his boundary with a wall, he will be blocking the right of way as stated in the title register. This will mean none of the houses will be able to get a car up and into their garages. How can stop the right of way from being blocked.
Charles - 4-Sep-18 @ 1:12 PM
wench - Your Question:
We live in a terraced house with shared access for 6 houses to the rear recently we had an attempted break in to our neighbours at the back the man responsible is a local drink and drug addict and was seen welding a crow bar round and suggesting that the other neighbour goes back into their house fortunately the looney tune gave up and left this left us all slightly unnerved to say the least 1 neighbour being a single mum with 3 very young children who too are now very scared incase he comes back.after discussion 5 of the neighbours are happy to have a gate with coded lock on but only 1 neighbour is disputing this saying NO lock but a gate is ok.none of this is of any cost to him and he will have the code for the lock he is saying access needed for emergency services baring in mind he has never used this entrance in the 3yrs we have lived here and years before being that we all don't won't a dispute but all also feeling that a locked gate would be safer and peace of mind for all his answer is not my concern how do we stand legally on this if we put a lock on and he is given a code

Our Response:
This will depend on the terms of the deeds/conditions documented regarding the access really.In general, if all parties agree and that the gate is not an "unreasonable obstruction" and doesn’t cause "material inconvenience" it might be acceptable. You should however seek professional legal advice before proceeding.
ProblemNeighbours - 26-Jun-18 @ 12:05 PM
We live in a terraced house with shared accessfor 6 houses to the rear recently we had an attempted break in to our neighbours at the back the man responsible is a local drink and drug addict and was seen welding a crow bar round and suggesting that the otherneighbour goes back into their house fortunately the looney tune gave up and left this left us all slightly unnerved to say the least 1 neighbour being a single mum with 3 very young children who too are now very scared incase he comes back ..after discussion5 of the neighbours are happy to have a gate with coded lock on but only 1 neighbour is disputing this saying NO lock but a gate is ok...none of this is of any cost to him and he will have the code for the lock he is saying access needed for emergency services baring in mind he has never used this entrance in the 3yrs we have lived here and years before being that we all don't won't a dispute but all also feeling that a locked gate would be safer and peace of mind for all his answer is not my concern how do we stand legally on this if we put a lock on and he is given a code
wench - 25-Jun-18 @ 6:31 AM
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
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