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Your Rights Under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Sep 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Access To Neighbouring Land Act Access

For the most part, you should rarely have to concern yourself with this Act if you have a decent relationship with your neighbours. From time to time, each and every one of us will have to repair or replace things on our property which might require ourselves or workers carrying out work on our behalf to gain access to our neighbour’s land in order to resolve the problem.

Generally, it’s a simple matter of letting your neighbour know what work you’re intending to carry out and to ask their permission if you can Gain Access Their Land and in order to conduct the work and to arrange a suitable time. Nevertheless, disputes can arise or you might just not get on with your neighbour, and both of these issues can make it difficult to carry out the work.

However, the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 can facilitate matters in some cases, if you need to resort to a more formal solution. Therefore, it’s good to know your rights with regard to this matter, what the Act covers and, often more crucially, what it doesn’t.

Your Rights

In order to grant an access order the court must be convinced that the reasons you need to gain access to a neighbour’s land, if they have been flatly refused permission, are valid as contained within the Act. Valid reasons for granting an access order would include:

  • The maintenance, renovation or repair of a property (or parts of it) in order to preserve it
  • The clearing or repair of any sewers, drains, cables or pipes
  • The removal or filling in of a ditch
  • The felling of a tree, plant or hedge (or parts of it) which have died, become diseased or which have become insecurely rooted and unstable which is likely to pose a danger

The basic interpretation of the law here is that the work must relate to the ‘preservation’ of an existing structure as opposed to granting permission to gain access to a neighbour’s land in order to make it easier to construct a new development, such as a new conservatory or extension.

Therefore, even if you have been granted planning permission for a ‘new build’, this does NOT mean that you can automatically gain access to a neighbour’s land if parts of the work need to be carried out from their side of the Boundary Line. That is not covered by the Act and any such work in this instance would have to be agreed to by both you and your neighbours themselves.

Exceptions To Granting Access

In some cases, the courts can refuse to grant an access order if they decide that in doing so, it could cause severe hardship to your neighbour or land owner, or that it would significantly reduce their capacity for enjoying their own land.

If an access order is agreed to by the courts, it must then specify exactly the work which needs to be carried out, the date work will commence and the date it must be completed by. Obviously, if the date is not suitable to your neighbour, they can request an alternative date. It would also be your responsibility to pay any compensation to the landowner, i.e. your neighbour, should they incur any financial loss, or put right any incidental damage that might result to their land or property as a result of the work you’re having carried out.

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I live in a property that has been converted into 2 flats. Both are freehold flats. The ground has a rear extension with a flat roof. I have lived in my first floor flat, I have lived here for 16 years, The owners of the ground floor bought theirs 11 years ago. They have recently had a new boiler installed in their extension. They installed a flue through the flat roof. They had a roofer there who was reinforcing the area around the flue with new felt which he was heating up with a large flame thrower type torch. I had some concerns as my bay is directly over the flat roof and the flue has been installed slightly to the right and about 2 feet away from my external brick wall. My bay window and soffit underneath the bay are made of UPVC. He was kneeling underneath my bay, against my brick wall whilst operating this torch. At once point he changed knees and that caused him to flail his arms round directly towards by UPVC bay. I haven't been able as yet to gain access to the neighbours garden check my bay for signs of heat damage but I intend to very soon. But my immediate concern is that he has finished off his patch by continuing the felt up my brick wall for about 8-10 inches. I am not happy with this. I do not feel that this course of action was necessary. He has not taken the edge of the felt up to the edge of the flat roof, so why has he continued the back edge up my property without my permission or any prior consultation. Who do I complain to? Do I complain to the owner or the roofer? Am I within my rights to demand that it be removed from my wall. or at least be replaced with lead flashing? To compound matters I don't feel that the extension could have been built with any consent as the roof of it encroaches into my property line. But it was here when I moved in and it wasn't picked up by my surveyor.
bigbird - 22-Sep-18 @ 7:05 AM
Hi. I am second from last in a terrace, the neighbours on end, adjoining me have caused me trouble since I moved here over 10 years ago, I have a two story extension built on the rear of my property and it appears to be built a foot or so inside the boundary wall with my neighbours, and this is then joined to the wall by means of slates off my extension wall and the top of boundary wall. My neighbour is currently looking at court case for multiple counts of criminal damage to my property and a threat t o kill, which is due to be heard in November, however I have just looked at the wall again where the slates are,.and see that three or more slates have been removed along with the protective lining, and there is now a large gap allowing rain to get in, I am assuming that the water has nowhere to go and will build up between my extension wall and the boundary wall. What can I do to gain access to repair this? I am very anxious about this, with court case pending etc.
Number4 - 15-Sep-18 @ 2:11 PM
My house is behind another and I have a right to access down the side of their house. At the moment it has very wonky stairs and a small retaining wall that is about to fall down. They have large conifers that are causing this problem. I have requested that this be fixed or alternately allow me to put a driveway up to my house. They have refused permission for a drive which is what I prefer and said he has no money to repair the dangerous steps and wall. What can I do?
Pollypop - 14-Sep-18 @ 4:49 PM
Miss S - Your Question:
We have a flat roof extension (built in 1986) at the back of our house. The side of our house is on the boundary of our neighbour (the bottom of his garden). I live on a corner. We have been granted permission to build a first storey extension over the top of the flat roof extension. This has now been built and the scaffolding has been erected and been in situ for over a month. The scaffold poles are standing in my neighbours garden (at the very end of of his garden). The scaffolders now need to gain access to his garden to bring the scaffold down to enable rendering of the side of the new build. The neighbour is refusing access. What can I do about this?

Our Response:
You may have to seek legal advice on this...was this not something that was discussed/considered before the first storey extension commenced?
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Sep-18 @ 11:25 AM
Hi the house next door to me is rented an it changes people often and aren't always nice ones... But their electric box is in there house but on my side of the garden so they have to get in to out electric on... Is their anything I can do as I've just paid out to have garden etc done an don't want these people having access all the time. Especially as I don't know them
Ebony - 9-Sep-18 @ 12:54 PM
We have a flat roof extension (built in 1986) at the back of our house.The side of our house is on the boundary of our neighbour (the bottom of his garden).I live on a corner.We have been granted permission to build a first storey extension over the top of the flat roof extension.This has now been built and the scaffolding has been erected and been in situ for over a month.The scaffold poles are standing in my neighbours garden (at the very end of of his garden).The scaffolders now need to gain access to his garden to bring the scaffold down to enable rendering of the side of the new build.The neighbour is refusing access.What can I do about this?
Miss S - 3-Sep-18 @ 11:25 AM
Hi, I own a flat which is flying freehold (it is a freehold3 floor flat above a vacant commercial property which is owned by a third party). The mains water supply pipe to my property has a burst in it and is concealed within a wall within the commercial property, which is causing my flat to have lost water pressure and there is no hot water and little cold water being delivered to my flat. The pipe is a shared pipe but it only appears to serve me as the burst appears to be after it is delivered to the vacant shop. The shop owner will not fix the pipe and will not allow workmen on my behalf to access his shop to fix the pipe (he says he is concerned about remediation of the wall). This has been going on some months and I am in Australia (the house is in the UK) so its very difficult to coordinate. There is a game of cat and mouse with the water company isolating the shared water and then someone else turning it back on. The water is leaking into and outside the shop I also believe the pipe in his shop is in breach of the water supply act 1999 as it is inaccessible within the wall (even if he did grant me access which he doesn’t) the water company have advised it is my responsibility to fix this pipe. The leak is also flooding into the shop next door. Does anyone know a good solicitor who deals with water supply regulations or can assist to get an order for a builder to access and repair this or does anyone have any other advice which may be useful? I have already involved the local council but they are not empowered under any of their said legislation. Any help is very much appreciated. Many Thanks
Liam - 2-Sep-18 @ 8:26 AM
Hi, I own a flat which is flying freehold (it is a freehold3 floor flat above a vacant commercial property which is owned by a third party). The mains water supply pipe to my property has a burst in it and is concealed within a wall within the commercial property, which is causing my flat to have lost water pressure and there is no hot water and little cold water being delivered to my flat. The pipe is a shared pipe but it only appears to serve me as the burst appears to be after it is delivered to the vacant shop. The shop owner will not fix the pipe and will not allow workmen on my behalf to access his shop to fix the pipe (he says he is concerned about remediation of the wall). This has been going on some months and I am in Australia (the house is in the UK) so its very difficult to coordinate. There is a game of cat and mouse with the water company isolating the shared water and then someone else turning it back on. The water is leaking into and outside the shop I also believe the pipe in his shop is in breach of the water supply act 1999 as it is inaccessible within the wall (even if he did grant me access which he doesn’t) the water company have advised it is my responsibility to fix this pipe. The leak is also flooding into the shop next door. Does anyone know a good solicitor who deals with water supply regulations or can assist to get an order for a builder to access and repair this or does anyone have any other advice which may be useful? I have already involved the local council but they are not empowered under any of their said legislation. Any help is very much appreciated. Many Thanks
Liam - 2-Sep-18 @ 8:21 AM
Hi, I own a flat which is flying freehold (it is a freehold3 floor flat above a vacant commercial property which is owned by a third party). The mains water supply pipe to my property has a burst in it and is concealed within a wall within the commercial property, which is causing my flat to have lost water pressure and there is no hot water and little cold water being delivered to my flat. The pipe is a shared pipe but it only appears to serve me as the burst appears to be after it is delivered to the vacant shop. The shop owner will not fix the pipe and will not allow workmen on my behalf to access his shop to fix the pipe (he says he is concerned about remediation of the wall). This has been going on some months and I am in Australia (the house is in the UK) so its very difficult to coordinate. There is a game of cat and mouse with the water company isolating the shared water and then someone else turning it back on. The water is leaking into and outside the shop I also believe the pipe in his shop is in breach of the water supply act 1999 as it is inaccessible within the wall (even if he did grant me access which he doesn’t) the water company have advised it is my responsibility to fix this pipe. The leak is also flooding into the shop next door. Does anyone know a good solicitor who deals with water supply regulations or can assist to get an order for a builder to access and repair this or does anyone have any other advice which may be useful? I have already involved the local council but they are not empowered under any of their said legislation. Any help is very much appreciated. Many Thanks Liam
Liam - 2-Sep-18 @ 8:20 AM
I have a VERY difficult downstairs neighbour. He is refusing to let my window cleaner put his ladder on his path. I can't clean them from the inside as some of them are fixed. I've had this window cleaner for over 2 years and although the neighbour has moaned in the past, the windows have been cleaned. However today he has been extremely rude to the cleaner and has downright refused to let them clean my windows!!! Where do I stand?
Jinty - 28-Aug-18 @ 10:38 AM
Hello, my son and daughter in law have planning permission to build an extension on their drive leaving an access to the boundary line of 500ml. Their neighbor has refused permission to erect scaffolding on her property. We have been advised that if permission had been granted right up to the boundary a party wall agreement would be raised and the neighbor could not refuse access. Is this correct as the Neighborhood land Act 1992 contradicts this information we have been given
Snowy - 14-Aug-18 @ 10:25 PM
FunDRazor - Your Question:
My unfriendly next door neighbour is building a loft extension - we are mid-terrace. After a Party Wall Award was signed, scaffolding went up without warning a few days later. The following week I heard workmen on my roof. I didn't know what they were doing and had no notice they were going to be there. Then at 7pm that evening my neighbour sent an email about requesting access. Of course this was null and void as it had already happened - so I could not consent or refuse. Also, it appears that the 'essential work' was just to secure a huge TV satellite dish to the scaffolding - hanging over my party wall - which is now affecting my own TV reception.Do I have any rights at all? Why can my neighbour do whatever he pleases when a PW Award was signed, supposedly with legal obligations in it?Any advice welcome, thanks.

Our Response:
Where there some conditions in the party wall award? You haven't given any details sorry.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Aug-18 @ 10:02 AM
My unfriendly next door neighbour is building a loft extension - we are mid-terrace. After a Party Wall Award was signed, scaffolding went up without warning a few days later. The following week I heard workmen on my roof. I didn't know what they were doing and had no notice they were going to be there. Then at 7pm that evening my neighbour sent an email about requesting access. Of course this was null and void as it had already happened - so I could not consent or refuse. Also, it appears that the 'essential work' was just to secure a huge TV satellite dish to the scaffolding - hanging over my party wall - which is now affecting my own TV reception. Do I have any rights at all? Why can my neighbour do whatever he pleases when a PW Award was signed, supposedly with legal obligations in it? Any advice welcome, thanks.
FunDRazor - 10-Aug-18 @ 4:09 PM
Ade - Your Question:
I want to replace soffit and gutters because of rot. The house is mid terrace and I need to gain access to neighbours for scaffolding. The property on one side is rented. Is it the Tenant or landlords permission I need to gain access.

Our Response:
Talk to the tenant first of all, as they will be ones potentially incovenienced. If there are problems, escalate it to the landlord.
ProblemNeighbours - 1-Aug-18 @ 12:24 PM
I want to replace soffit and gutters because of rot. The house is mid terrace and I need to gain access to neighbours for scaffolding. The property on one side is rented. Is it the Tenant or landlords permission I need to gain access.
Ade - 31-Jul-18 @ 8:50 AM
Pooch - Your Question:
I am a middle cottage of 3.(Call me B) I have an access path behind the boundary line of the left hand side cottage.That cottage is A) This is not my land but in my title deeds to maintain it. It is not on her (Cottage A) title deeds either. The path is part of the local farmers field.However this part of the field has been transferred to Wessex Water for a pump station (sewage).She in cottage A wants to put a gate in her back boundary fence so she can walk along the access path.

Our Response:
Your neighbour should to the land owner (Wessex Water), if they grant her access, you should make them aware about the maintenance responsibilities and perhaps get them to apply to amend her deeds (and yours) accordingly.
ProblemNeighbours - 30-Jul-18 @ 3:09 PM
Hello, I have a single-skin, brick wall separating mine and my neighbour's front garden. The owner of the house next door has raised the level of his garden by about 8 inches, and it is putting pressure on the wall in-between. The wall has moved noticeably since I moved into the property around one year ago, and is bowing out along the bottom at the same level as the ground on the other side. It is set to fall down at some point soon, and is a bit of a hazard. Now, the wall belongs to me, but the damage is clearly not my fault. I've contacted the owner (who rents the property, and does not actually live there), and his response was that as it is not his wall, it is not his responsibility. Do you have any idea about where I stand with this? Thanks.
Jimjams - 27-Jul-18 @ 6:07 PM
I am a middle cottage of 3.(Call me B) I have an access path behind the boundary line of the left hand side cottage.That cottage is A) This is not my land but in my title deeds to maintain it. It is not on her (Cottage A) title deeds either. The path is part of the local farmers field.However this part of the field has been transferred to Wessex Water for a pump station (sewage).She in cottage A wants to put a gate in her back boundary fence so she can walk along the access path.
Pooch - 27-Jul-18 @ 2:54 PM
June07 - Your Question:
We live in terraced house we have covenant in deeds saying if we give notice to neighbors re maintenance on my property we can go on neighbors land to do so my previous neighbors never refused but new neighbors have said no if we do they will call police I cannot afford a solicitor what can I do ?

Our Response:
The police may be willing to take cursory action if the neighbours report this as a trespass but basically it's a civil matter and civil matters are usually resolved via the courts if one party is not willing to compromise.You could ask a third party (an MP, councillor, professsional/off duty magistrate etc) if they would be willing to mediate until you come to some agreement, or pay for alternate dispute resolution which is cheaper than a solicitor might be. Unfortunately if all that fails the courts are really your only resort. Citizens' Advice will be able to advise on how to reduce court fees etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 25-Jul-18 @ 12:10 PM
We live in terraced house we have covenant in deeds saying if we give notice to neighbors re maintenance on my property we can go on neighbors land to do so my previous neighbors never refused but new neighbors have said no if we do they will call police I cannot afford a solicitor what can I do ?
June07 - 22-Jul-18 @ 11:49 AM
I am I’ve been living in the property for the last 18 months I am planning permission but my neighbour will let me have access to his property so I can get this electricity Western Power have said they can come over top on the Neath he’s Already got a pole in his garden it’s only going to come 3 m I have asked him a few times and he’s not interested at all I have explained we are trying with that young family so I need advice would be good
Rosie - 19-Jul-18 @ 8:02 PM
Neighbours need to erect scaffolding on our land to carry out building repairs to their property.Can we request compensation as access to our garden will be restricted- scaffolding willbe outside our kitchen door.
Hetty - 18-Jul-18 @ 9:20 AM
Hi I live in a house with shared access, my gable end butts up to the neighbors garden, My roof needs attention and at the same time I want UPVC facia’s sofffits and new guttering and down pipes, I am in my sixtys so this just makes sense and no maintenance. My roofer went to see my neighbor to explain what I was having done and asked if it would be possible to erect some scaffolding in her garden. at this point she said it wasn’t a problem, however after speaking to her son she came round to my house and said she doesn’t want the scaffolding as she had raised flower beds. This is now going to cause problems for the roofers unless the scaffold company can do a bridge high up which will double the cost of my scaffolding. What are my rights in this case
Jessie - 17-Jul-18 @ 4:48 PM
I need access just over my neighbours boundaryline with a ladder to point the table end. My neighbour refuses and will not answer door. What can I do??
C - 11-Jul-18 @ 12:25 PM
For the purpose of building an extension on our terrace house, we had a verbal agreement with our neighbour for access over a piece of rough land that our neighbour owns. It is a small strip of wasteland, was piled high with rubbish which we had to clear and dispose of before we could even start work. After being upset by the upheavel of building works that we’re carrying out, our neighbour has written to us to withdraw the permission for access on the strip of land with just 7 days notice, even though we are only 6 weeks into our 10 week project. This leaves us in a very difficult position. Being a terraced house we have no other way to bring materials in or to take out waste materials. Please can you give advice, what options are available to us for retaining continued access until the end of the project?
Catkins - 10-Jul-18 @ 10:04 PM
Hello Sir, Good afternoon This is Abbas from DC. Sir I wana get an advice regarding non-cooperation of my neighbor. Problem is that water is coming into my basement from neighbor's house. She isn't giving us access to her house. Where should we file a complaint against her ? Your response wil be highly appreciated. Thanks
Huss - 7-Jul-18 @ 8:10 PM
Neighbours intend to put up extension, first I heard was from the council who provided me with a copy of the plans and asked if I had any objections. I replied I had no objection in principle to the finished extension but would have objections if they required access trough my drive and garden. The neighbours are in terrace and have walking access through my land for their bins but no vehicle access. This was in March no further contact other than letter from council to say the plans had been approved and that it was the responsibility of the neighbour to arrange / negotiate access. On Saturday they told me I would not be able to park in my drive for 12 weeks as they need access for a digger and build supplies. I checked deeds access is via “footpath” so have informed them I am not moving my car and they wanted to knock down my fence and gate - informed them this would be criminal damage as no permission to do this. Neighbours from hell! Anybody with a brain would have negotiated access at the planning stage I am not unreasonable but they are taking liberties!
Blue - 6-Jul-18 @ 1:15 PM
Buddliea - Your Question:
Our extension wall on the side is now in line with the boundary fence due to disputes with a previous owner, we now have new neivhboursWe would like to access our wall for maintenance of the wall, guttering and roofMy neighbour says no and says she will do it herself Do we have any rights?Thanks

Our Response:
We actually don't know what the position is here; a neighbour offering to undertake the maintenance is not something we've come across. You may have to seek advice from a legal professional specialising in property issues.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Jul-18 @ 12:05 PM
The side and back of our neighbours garage is completely located in our back garden, the paintwork around the eaves and guttering was rotton and faded, so we painted with the original colour to protect and preserve, the neighbours are now seeking legal action, are we in the wrong? they do not have access to our land to maintain it themselves, and only last year they painted the eaves of the garage on there side of the boundary fence and did not ask if they could come on to our side and maintain their garage, therefore i was in the position where their garage was making my garden look untitdy because of the rotton paintwork.
mark - 5-Jul-18 @ 8:10 AM
Bob - Your Question:
Hello, my neighbor constantly requesting access to carry out non urgent work on their property. We have always allowed immediate access to facilitate the work bearing in mind we were never told the nature of the work that will take place. Recently we have been demanding minimum of five working days notice for non urgent work in order to allow us to get on with our appointments, work or whatever are our plans. The neighbors started to get unhappy with our request and being rude.My question is there a time limit to grant such above requests. If the work is urgent we will do our best to grant immediate access but it is not.Your advice would be highly appreciated.Yours sincerely

Our Response:
No there are no set time limits, but your neighbour is expected to access your property at time convenient to you. We think asking for 5 days' notice seems reasonable except if there is an emergency of course.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Jul-18 @ 3:18 PM
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